The economy is booming. The unemployment rate is at its lowest in 50 years, and, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. has added over 6.4 million jobs since 2016.
Still, some economic signs point to a possible recession on the horizon. As technology and automation become more sophisticated, they change the way companies hire and the kinds of jobs available. To prepare yourself for the job market in 2020, find out what the top job trends are and get tips to help you ace your job interview.
Last updated: Dec. 20, 2019
Managers Will Need To Get On Board With Artificial Intelligence
Currently, many midlevel and senior managers struggle to understand and implement technology. Forbes predicted that managers who understand artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be in high demand to help create personalized customer-focused experiences.
Companies Will Hire More Diverse Candidates
Tech has been notoriously slow at diversifying its workforce. However, not only is that changing, but Recruiting Brief predicted 2020 to be a high-priority year for diverse hiring practices.
Creating a diverse workplace isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do. A study by Boston Consulting Group found that diversity can also improve a company’s bottom line by as much as 19%. So women and minority candidates may see an advantage.
Company Culture Will Reign Over Cash
Many employees are more motivated by a company’s culture than salary alone, according to a business survey by job search website Glassdoor. In fact, 56% of 5,000 employees surveyed said culture mattered more than the salary. As such, job candidates may find that companies are seeking strong candidates who align with their values, mission and purpose.
The Fastest-Growing Labor Force: Boomers
It looks like 2020 will be the year of the boomer ages 65 and up, as this segment of the workforce is growing faster than all other age groups, according to the BLS. Nearly 20% of Americans ages 65 and older were employed or actively looking for work in 2019, an increase from only 10% in 1985.
Fears of Recession Could Change How Companies Hire
Economists suggest that the warning signs of a coming recession are already here: changes in the bond market, slowing job gains and a less robust gross domestic product (GDP), among other signs. Glassdoor expects employers to focus on hiring candidates who closely match the company’s values and goals, and who can weather a recession. This might mean letting go of candidates who are not, potentially opening up new hiring possibilities for the right people.
Recession Fears Might Allow For Flexible Work Situations
On the other side of recession fears, companies may allow employees greater flexibility such as telecommuting, part-time employees, outsourcing and gig-style jobs. For candidates who don’t want to work full time or always in an office, there may be more jobs that meet flexible needs.
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Recruiting Will Be Largely Mobile
If you haven’t already acclimated to using a smartphone, now is the time to do so. Research suggests that by 2025, almost three-quarters of the world will access the internet from their mobile phones. Mobile job application platforms are not always smooth and are often slower than desktop experiences, but research shows mobile job search experiences will become more common.
Recruiters Will Use Social Media More
Employees looking for work will want to utilize social media, particularly LinkedIn, to stay in contact with potential recruiters. It never hurts to advertise on social media that you’re looking for a job, as well — you never know who might be viewing your content or who might know someone looking to hire.
The Gig Economy Will Reign Supreme
Savvy employers understand that more workers will continue to look for freelance and contract jobs for flexibility and to diversify their prospects and interests. Keep an eye out for more of these kinds of gigs in 2020.
Large Corporations May Be Hiring Fewer Employees
Companies will still be hiring in 2020, but they may begin to slow their numbers as they try to maximize profits and prepare for a potential recession.
The 2020 Election May Lead Some Companies To Get Political
The upcoming 2020 presidential election in the United States has the potential to push companies to wear their values on their sleeves in order to attract like-minded customers, Glassdoor predicted. Examples of companies that have already gotten on that train include Penzeys Spices, which invested money in politically based messaging, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which destroyed about $5 million in assault rifles in response to recent mass shootings.
Job candidates may expect to see more political airing in the workplace in 2020.
Greater Automation Will Create More Jobs
Automation often inspires dread in employees who fear machines might replace them. But one prediction is that while automation is likely to increase, existing jobs will improve. Meanwhile, the number of jobs related to programming, maintaining and training others in using these machines is also expected to increase.
Hone Your Soft Skills
McKinsey reported that as more jobs become automated, managers will prize soft skills more than ever in employees. These are the social and emotional skills that enable great communication, collaboration, empathy and other interpersonal skills that keep processes flowing smoothly.
Employers Will Hire Outside Their Target Markets
There may be signs of a recession on the horizon, but it’s not here yet. One recruiting site predicts that due to a shortage of candidates because of low unemployment rates, employers will choose candidates not necessarily based on past job experience but potential for growth and training to meet the company’s needs, according to HR Morning. That may make 2020 a great year to leap into a new field or level up.
More Video Interviewing
Now that technology offers multiple ways to communicate digitally face-to-face, from Skype to Zoom to iPhone’s FaceTime function, more employers are conducting initial interviews using these tools, saving time and travel for candidates. Becoming well-versed in these technologies could help you make a strong first impression.
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More Employers Will Offer Remote Work
Not only will the interviews likely be remote, but more employers may be responding to candidates’ desires to work from home more often. According to FlexJobs, 4.7 million people already work from home in the U.S., and that number appears to be growing.
Texting With Recruiters and Managers
Expect recruiters or hiring managers to communicate a lot less by phone call and more by texting in 2020. Texting offers the possibility for quick, easy communication and can be less time consuming than phone calls. Especially if your managers are millennials, who are notorious for preferring to text.
Companies Are Creating New Roles
Changing workplaces mean companies must reinvent the way they do business. Some businesses, like IBM, for example, are creating entirely new roles to attract new talent, such as Talent Scientist and Data Poet. If a job title sounds unfamiliar, don’t write it off; explore it. It might just be the perfect new job for your skills.
If you’re nervous around one person in an interview, you might want to prepare yourself for team-based hiring, where the entire team you might work with conducts a group interview. Companies may do this to ensure that you are a good fit not only within the company at large but in the specific team where you would work.
Focus On Relevant Experience
With all those hiring trends in mind, now it’s time to think about preparing for your interview. You may feel tempted to mention everything you’ve ever done in your work history, but experts recommend you stay on point and only bring up your most relevant experience to land the job.
Brush Up on Your Tech Skills
Depending on your age and job experience, you may not be up on the latest tech. While some companies will train new employees, consider taking some refresher courses yourself before you hit the job circuit. Businesses will be increasingly looking for the tech-savvy.
For Older Adults, Focus On All Your Experience
For older adults looking to start a new job, focus on your experience when talking about yourself, not your age. The benefit of extra years is extra time in the workforce, which often brings patience, understanding and flexibility. Talk those qualities up.
Be Savvy About Salary Limits
You may have big goals for a dream salary and draw a hard line if the offer is lower than you hoped for. Instead, apply for jobs where you’re willing to accept the salary offered, since you may not be able to negotiate.
Whether you’re a boomer, a millennial or other, remember that today’s workplace is often age-diverse. Your boss might be younger than you or your potential subordinates could be older than you. Be sure not to show any bias against working with a range of ages.
If you’ve been out of work or haven’t interviewed in some time, practice with friends or family. Learn what you can about a prospective company’s interview techniques so you can be ready when the time comes.
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About the Author
Jordan Rosenfeld is a freelance writer and author of nine books. She holds a B.A. from Sonoma State University and an MFA from Bennington College. Her articles and essays about finances and other topics has appeared in a wide range of publications and clients, including The Atlantic, The Billfold, Good Magazine, GoBanking Rates, Daily Worth, Quartz, Medical Economics, The New York Times, Ozy, Paypal, The Washington Post and for numerous business clients. As someone who had to learn many of her lessons about money the hard way, she enjoys writing about personal finance to empower and educate people on how to make the most of what they have and live a better quality of life.