Why non-linear career paths are the future
People used to frame their careers in a very linear way. For example, let’s say you wanted to be a lawyer. You would plan to go to good schools, get a job at a top firm, and after several years, become a partner. But things don’t always go as planned. Maybe you get your law degree but can’t pass the bar exam. Or you join a top company and get fired after a year or two because profits are down and expenses are up. You may become a lawyer only to discover after a few years that it is not your passion. What then? This is where non-linear careers come into play.
A non-linear career path is different from job hopping. Job hopping means that you are moving seamlessly from one role to another. These people are seen as cunning and untrustworthy. When we talk about non-linear routes, they are intentional. Your career won’t follow a straight line, but there’s still a bit of planning involved.
As employers and employees face an ever-changing labor market, non-linear careers they are becoming the new normal. Here are some reasons.
People are working more
according to World Health Organization, by 2030, 1 in 6 people will be 60 or older. By 2050, this number is expected to double. As people live longer, the traditional 40-year career will slowly become a thing of the past. Instead, 60 years of career it is much more likely. But in order for people to continue working during that time, they will need to find fulfilling roles so they don’t burn out. Very few people will want to stay in the same job for 60 years. Not to mention that needs and interests change over time. This means that non-linear occupations that require continuous learning and upskilling will become much more common.
Values and priorities have changed
There is no doubt that values and attitudes changed during the pandemic. In a survey conducted by Gartner65% of people agreed that the pandemic changed their attitude towards the importance of aspects outside of work, while 50% agreed that their expectations of the employer had changed. While salary is important, employees are looking for more than just a salary. More and more, remote working options, work-life balance and career development opportunities are coming to the fore. When people think of their ideal workplace, they want to feel valued, confident and inspired. As a result, non-linear occupations that offer these types of benefits will become more common.
Skills are the protagonist
In recent years, companies have become more willing to adopt competency-based hiring, where they consider applicants who do not necessarily have a college degree or minimal experience. It’s becoming a mainstream trend in the workplace for a number of reasons. First, despite the difficult economy, companies struggle to attract and retain top talent. A competency-based hiring approach expands the talent pool, speeds time to hire, and lowers hiring costs. It’s also a great way to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace by breaking down the “paper ceiling” that prevents people from being considered for roles they’re qualified for. This means that non-traditional candidates and self-taught career changers will have greater opportunities going forward.
The workplace is evolving rapidly
These are tough times for the job market, where entire industries are scrambling to fill gaps in their workforce. In the next decade, the workplace will change dramatically, with companies looking for skills that don’t even exist today. In addition, employees feel less committed and less loyal to their employers. According to Energage Research, survey data collected from employees of more than 4,000 companies shows that the level of employee engagement is lower than during the pandemic. Research has also revealed lower levels of loyalty as employees leave their employer for another. This shift in loyalty is not surprising, given that employee turnover and stress are at an all-time high. Additionally, the massive number of layoffs and hiring freezes announced in recent months has eroded employee loyalty. All of these elements together contribute to more workers taking non-linear career paths.
Lifetime employment with a single job is largely a thing of the past. While some employers may frown upon non-linear careers, these attitudes are changing rapidly. Companies now want flexible workers to adapt to evolving work situations. Make purpose and passion your guide. By leveraging your transferable skills and stepping outside of your comfort zone, you’ll be able to build a career that inspires and motivates you for years to come.