A radical shift is taking place in the US and Europe. More and more jobs are changing from full-time employee to contingent positions. A recent survey by Kelly Services reveals 44 percent of workers indicate they are now freelancers and most without benefits. So it will be important going forward to choose a high-growth field with plenty of new opportunities.
It should not be much of a surprise that jobs in the Healthcare and Healthcare Support occupations will add the most new workers in the US from now to 2020, for a total of just under 3.5 million. Two factors are driving this growth – baby boomers hitting retirement age and an increase in life expectancy. In raw numbers the ranks of Registered Nurses will swell by 712,000. Add to this 706,000 Home Health Aides, 302,000 Nurses Aides and Orderlies, 210,000 Medical Secretaries, 168,000 Physicians and Surgeons, 163,000 Medical Assistants and other related jobs to round out the largest employment increase of any field.
Healthcare is followed by 2.35M Office and Administrative Support positions; 1.87M Sales and Related occupations; 1.41M Construction; 1.40M Education and Training; 1.34M Personal Care and Service; 1.33M Transportation and Material Moving; 1.17M Business and Financial Operations; 1.1M Food Preparation and Serving; 800,000 Installation, Maintenance, and Repair; 778,000 Computer and Mathematical occupations; 664,000 Building Grounds and Maintenance; and 616,000 Management occupations. All others, and the average salaries of each profession, can be found on the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site.
What does it mean when one-half of jobs are contingent instead of traditional employee-employee relationships and trending even more in the freelance direction? It suggests that the employer can terminate your contract at any time, which is not much different than that of an at-will employee, but it's easier to cancel a contract than fire someone – and they do not have to pay unemployment compensation. And, of course, the reason they are bringing new employees in on contract in the first place is they do not have to pay other benefits, such as health insurance, nor keep employees happy with promotions and career path discussions. If you are a contingent worker, you will have to cover your own health insurance – and forget 401k contributions – you'll have to save for your own retirement. This leads to the job security question – none, nadda! Since the majority of workers will be independent contractors, you're going to have to learn how to fend for yourself in these areas. Most importantly, it will be up to you to continuously look for your next contract position since the current one could go away at any time. You will need to develop the skills to market yourself while fully engaged in your current position and ensure you do not do it at the expense of the current gig, to give anyone the excuse to end the contract early.
You are going to have to develop and nurture networks of colleges, co-workers, trade association members, recruiters, friends, relatives, schoolmates, etc. to always know what positions are opening up in your chosen field. You are going to have to recognize what new skills are coming into demand and master them – whether through more schooling, mentors, or extra effort on the job. The key is to be proactive. – to stay a step a head of the game and always be thinking of your next job and actively be in communication with a close-knit network willing to assist you, because you've done the same for them. It will also be important to stay out of debt, as much as possible, because there will be gaps between jobs and no unemployment insurance to help.
This does not have to be a scary proposition. Choose a field where you know there will be growth, or one so specialized that few can do what you can. Two-thirds of all new jobs have been created by small businesses over the past two decades. So think small business – either start your own or find one where you can add the most value. You will create your own job security going forward.