As we reach the end of 2010 and look forward to 2011, there are indications that brighter economic times may be ahead. The chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics below illustrates the cause for some of my conservative optimism:
Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey (National)
While we are far from a rosy job and employment market, we are seeing increased demand for consultants and full-time employees. Here are some quick stats:
* Year to date, the revenue at KnowledgeStaff have increased by over 60%
* Sales within the healthcare sector accounted for close to 61% of the total revenue; financial services accounted for 27%
* Consultant pay rates have begun to creep upward
When the employment marketplace is uncertain but showing some signs of recovery, several things occur:
* Supply and demand forces cause salaries and consulting rates which have been depressed begin to show signs of improvement. My sense is that this will be a slow gradual improvement.
* Staffing cycle times slow; with more candidates in the marketplace, corporations are more likely to hold out for the “perfect’ candidate.
* Corporations will begin to ramp up their hiring. Traditionally we see an uptick in consulting requirements before full-time hiring although this recovery may be different as most companies needed to cut deeper within their full-time ranks.
Establish your Learning Budget
Resolve each year to acquire some new skill, tool, technology, or subject matter expertise that contributes to your ongoing career development. My recommendations for this year include:
* If you are a learning and development professional and you do not have some exposure to e-learning authoring tools, you are at a distinct competitive disadvantage. The tools that we see demanded most, in order of importance, are Adobe's Captivate, the suite of tools from Articulate, and Trivantis's Lectora ProSuite. Most if not all of these vendors offer free trial versions of their software.
* Begin to research DITA. The Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) is an XML-based architecture for authoring, producing, and delivering information. This standard has been in use within the technical publications world and we are seeing it discussed with the L&D community more and more.
* Attend and/or participate in industry conferences.
* Research the impact of social media within the L&D space. If your organization is not discussing social media, they will be.
* Read Jeanne Meister and Karie Willyerd's book, The 2020 Workplace, published by HarperCollins. This book presents a forecast for the future that I believe is spot-on and is a must read.
* Consider enrolling in a certificate program to enhance your current skill set.
In some cases your employer will absorb these expenses but if not, an appropriate annual investment in your professional development would be $1,500 - $2,500 per year. You're worth it.
Take Time to Reflect
Many of us, so consumed with work and extracurricular activities, drift through our careers without being mindful of its direction. The answers to these questions will help in determining whether the time may be right to investigate new career opportunities:
* Is your current position consistent with your short and long-term career goals and objectives?
* What are the new trends in the learning marketplace and is your current position consistent with these trends?
* Is your career moving forward with acceptable velocity?
* What new roles and responsibilities do you need to assume to move your career forward?
* What conversations and actions are required to get your career back on track?
* How vulnerable are you to a future downturn in the marketplace?
If you have any questions or would like a "no-obligation" appraisal of your current situation, please contact us at 866-742-2410.