Want a better job? Job Market Trends & Projections

According to the Bureau of Labor & Statistics, it’s a thriving job market.  38 million employees quit their jobs in 2018 and if the job market trends continue into 2020, over 48 million employees – that is 1 in 3 workers – will quit their jobs looking for a new opportunities. In addition to this, there is increasingly becoming a worker shortage.

The percentage of the population participating in the workforce is expected to decline over the next 10 years as older workers (Baby Boomers) retire and leave voluntarily, in addition to younger workers (Gen Z) delaying the entering of the workforce due to staying in school longer in hopes of getting higher paying jobs in the future.  In addition, changes in federal immigration policy could affect the supply of low and high skilled workers by reducing the number of available workers overall.  This is due to the current information available substantiating that immigrant workers fill jobs at both ends of the spectrum – the most and least skilled jobs (Pew Research Center, 2015).

Growth in demand for workers has outpaced the growth of the supply of workers and increased job growth and decreased unemployment (in addition to slow workforce growth) is giving employees many more options and the power to choose where they work.  So, the outlook is good for job seekers to take advantage of the available opportunities.  Unfortunately, employers are not yet being as responsive to the changes in the marketplace where employees are increasingly in more control of what they are willing to accept in their work lives and employment relationships.  This is resulting in more turnover.

The drivers of turnover / employee engagement are summarized in the 2018 Retention Report provided by the Work Institute (workinstitute.com/retentionreport2018).

There is a wealth of interesting information and I highly recommend you review this report.  In summary, it says that 77% – more than 3 in 4 employees – could have been retained by employers if they addressed the following top reasons for leaving.

These are the top 10 reasons for leaving your job (study from 2017):

Career Development           21%

Work/Life Balance               13%

Manager Behavior               11%

Well-Being                            9%

Comp & Benefits                  9%

Relocation                             9%

Job Characteristics              8%

Involuntary Termination     7%

Retirement                            7%

Work Environment               6%


In summary of these results, employees are leaving employers who don’t offer them the opportunity to grow.  In addition, they want advancement, promotions or career changes often while staying at the same company.  When longer term job security is not an option, many look elsewhere, return to school / training programs to acquire higher level skills or decide to open their own businesses.  If work / life balance is not met, they find employers who offer more favorable schedules or better commutes and perhaps the option of working remotely. And if this all of this remains well and good, they will no longer tolerate bad managers.  It definitely appears that employers have a lot to work on in improving employee engagement.

Where does this leave you?  Considering a job change?  Are you concerned about your skills or your age?  Well, consider this bit of information.  The current median age of the labor force is 42 years.  And it’s trending older.  And there is good information about favorable market conditions for a population who is continuing to make valuable contributions in the workforce.  On a final note, consider a study that has been completed by the Council for Aid to Education.  A study of over 31,000 students found that according to employers, 40% lack the proficiency in the higher level skills such as critical thinking, ethical decision making and oral/written communication (2014).

Food for thought regardless of your age, perhaps you should consider featuring these higher level skills prominently in your refined career portfolio and resumes.



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