Understanding the 2021 job market
The last year has brought challenges none of us could have seen coming. 2021 has just started, but there is a surprising amount of new opportunities, companies evolving, and creative talent on the move as companies and people react to those changes. In this episode, look at the trends that driving the 2021 job market for companies and for you no matter your level of experience, and what are some of the things you can do to take advantage of it all.
When I look back I see that it’s been since September 2020 since I sat down to do a new episode that wasn’t from an event, part of the Share The Mic Now series. If I am being honest, that break was mainly driven because I was burned out, frustrated, uninspired, and trying to figure out what changes I needed to make to fix all of that.
All of that was compounded by the death of my father which sent all of that into an even deeper slide. I gave myself a little time to deal with all that pain but then for to work.
I looked at the friendships in my life and made some changes, accelerated my plans to return to Pittsburgh to be closer to my family, and made one other huge change. By the time you listen to this episode, the new should have broken that I have left InVision for a new role. You can check out my social for the details just in case the announcement of my new role got delayed. During my journey to this new role and the way I watch the industry I have seen that this is a moment I saw coming but never thought would show up the way it has.
In this episode we will talk about trends that are driving the 2021 job market for companies and for you no matter your level of experience, and what are some of the things you can do to the advantage of it all.
What is going on?
For the past year I have told anyone who would listen that what is happening in the world due to COVID, rising social awareness and more is going to trigger massive change. These things are not affecting a company or an industry but the entire world and all of us.
The negative affects have been the massive layoffs and downsizing by so many companies. The positive affect has been that I have never seen a time when the market has been more white hot with everyone from the biggest design leaders to young creatives just starting their career taking amazing new roles.
Let’s take a few minutes and look a little deeper to understand why this is happening.
Companies – building pressure
When COVID happened everyone sheltered in place in those frustrating jobs because all hiring stopped and we all just needed to pay the bills. During that time we saw that when we all went from working in person to being remote it cause all of the organization’s sins in these companies to surface. We saw all the issues of lack of trust, bad communication, managers instead of leaders and so much more were put on full display.
These issues had always been there but when we did not have the ability to run into each other in the hallway and there were not the business pressures created by COVID we could keep them under the surface, Some companies had an amazing response and they were able to achieve 10 years of evolution in 6 months. Others spiraled out of control where that lack of leadership was put front and center like never before.
Companies – reaping the whirlwind
We have all seen that lack of leadership for far too long which was caused by companies who have hired, trained and rewarded managers who could maintain the peace and manage projects from one to another.
That happened instead of rewarding real change or original thought they valued compliance over pretty much everything else. These cultures have been toxic to creatives and created a deep frustration within the creative communities that have built and built. This combination of long-simmering frustration in all of us, the pressures of businesses needing to respond to new ways of working, was all the ingredients for there to be a ton of change as soon as the opportunities presented themselves.
Companies – the response
These were all the factors that I could see coming but the response has been far bigger than I ever imagined.
The good news is that I have seen so many companies who came through this entire process and came to the realization that they have been valuing the wrong things, and they need REAL creative leadership and talent in their companies. The good news is that I have seen so many companies who came through this entire process and came to the realization that they have been valuing the wrong things, and they need REAL creative leadership and talent in their companies. Basically they understand this is a time of war for their business and they need serious, experienced war time leaders who can get things done and make a real difference.
I can not be more excited to see this change because the one so many of us have been waiting for. At the same time, those companies who have only increased their toxic cultures watched as all their best talent ran out the door for those companies who have seen the light of new ways of working.
Health and real work-life balance
While all of that was change was happening with our companies we were all also going through a lot of changes. The biggest shift for me came in the orientation of work and what I want out of life.
For my entire life I found the job i wanted and oriented my life around that job. This could be where I lived, how traveled and more. For the first time in my life that has flipped and I know the life I want and want a ob that will fit that vision instead of the other way around.
This happened because
- The pandemic has made us reevaluate what matters
- We want to be closer to family because we are all aware of how fragile that is
- Mental health matters more
- Less distracted by work and can think about what I want
Life is now leading work instead of the other way around. This means we are willing to put up with less of the insanity at work. We want real leaders, we want to be a part of something and we are willing to stand up tp get it.
How do you take advantage of all of this?
Understanding your brand matters now more than ever
- Episode 106, 61, 7 and 6 give you all the basics
- YouTube video on most common resume and portfolio mistakes
- Now is not the time to be generic
Outreach is the new recruiting
- The market is flooded and you probably won’t find your next job on Indeed or LinkedIn
- Episode 107 on outsmarting the recruiting system
Play a short, medium and long game to find something new
- Short game is to get you, your brand and your assets ready
- Medium game is to start networking, getting mentoring (ADP), work on a passion project, and more to grow your skills and network
- Long game is to get a job at a company that values and respects you
When I talk with creative about these issues I so often find myself coming back to one piece of advice. I have said it on the show before but it bears repeating.
Hope is not a strategy.
Too much of our search is based in hope
• We hope recruiters will like our resume
• We hope someone will notice us
• We hope they will know why we are different
• We hope they will read everything in our portfolio
• And on, and on, and on
This is important because we have to take control of our careers and take more responsibility for them. For me, it has always been about sustained success across the arc of my career. But year after year, and job after job. You do not get that by having your career led by hope.
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