Riding the Wave

The job market is good and your prospects are high. Here's how you can bulletproof your career.

workforce entrants and only a third over the next decade. African Americans will continue to represent only 11% of the workforce, while Hispanics will grow from 10% in the year 2000 to 14% in 2020.

Despite all the hustle and bustle in the job arena, the rate of salary increases certainly reflects the current competition for talent in today’s tight labor market. Averaging 4.2%, increases for salaried exempt employees in 1999 will be at their highest point since 1993, according to a survey conducted by Hewitt Associates.

The human resources consulting firm found that the more than 1,000 companies surveyed project an average increase of 4.1% for salaried nonexempt employees, 3.9% for nonunion hourly and 4.4% for executives. Besides the demand for skilled workers, the continued support for recognition and performance awards and stock options has also helped to drive salary increases higher.

More often than not, those higher salaries will be in areas that bring in the most money for a company. “It’s important for African Americans to get into line [those that contribute to the bottom line such as in sales or R&D] jobs, make themselves indispensable and disregard the defense that they are ‘not quite ready yet.'” says Poriotis.

Many people work 15 years but get only one year’s worth of experience because they concentrate on just one department. As a result they become prime targets for downsizing. “It’s not about moving up; it’s about moving across,” adds Poriotis. “You must break down the glass walls and not just focus on the glass ceiling.”

5 predictions for the work landscape

Advancing technology will displace low-skilled or unskilled workers in manufacturing, but not totally replace them. The development, marketing and servicing of more sophisticated products will create more jobs than the underlying technology will destroy. These new jobs will be safer, more stimulating and better paying.

–Workforce 2020: Work and Workers in the 21st Century by Richard W. Judy, et al. (Hudson Institute, 1998)

The new jobs will demand brains rather than brawn as telecommuting becomes increasingly acceptable. As a result, the structural barriers to employment for women, minorities and older Americans will diminish. –Workforce 2020

Quality of life at work and home will continue to grow in importance and people will change jobs more frequently. A “seller’s market” for labor will enable workers to choose their employers based on flexibility and family-friendly programs.

–Joyce L. Gioia, strategic business futurist, president of The Herman Group in Greensboro, North Carolina, and co-author of Lean & Meaningful: A New Culture for Corporate America (Oakhill Press; $27.95)

There will be a wide variety of unique employee benefits offered. For example, Justice Technologies Corp. in Culver City, California, offers day care reimbursement for pets and paid lunches on and before payday. -J-oyce L. Gioia

Companies will come to better understand the importance of “environment” where team spirit, values, ethics and mission statements will become increasingly important to employees. –Joyce L. Gioia

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