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2020 Vision: The 4 Biggest Workplace Trends We See

Man at desk speeding into 2020

Happy 2020! It’s not just a brand new year, it’s also the start of another decade. What’s going to be big in Career Town this year and beyond? We’re betting on four trends: an even more gig-ified economy, serious flexibility for everyone, a rise in remote workers, and getting schooled on the job.

This is Gig, Like Huge

What’s a traditional job these days anyway? According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, more than 15 million of us have non-traditional ones. Which could mean self-employment, part-time, agency contracts, and more. And that doesn’t even include all the side-hustlers, like Uber or Lyft drivers or Airbnb-ers. In fact, labor economists believe that within a decade, contractors will outnumber full-time employees.

The government’s noticing too. Take California Assembly 5 Bill. Essentially, the bill that went into effect January 1 is designed to prevent companies from taking advantage of contractors by categorizing more workers as ‘employees,’ who are therefore protected by minimum wage laws, worker’s comp, sick leave, etc. The surge in independent contractors drove this bill, and because California is such an influential state, others may soon follow. (You can check out what we’re doing with Vitamin T Square Deal, a solution for companies to provide equal benefits for contractors.)

Bottom line: With the gig economy accounting for a third of the workforce and contributing $1.3 trillion to the economy in 2018 alone, this trend is mammoth and only getting mammoth-er.

Bending Over Backward

Second only to compensation, flexibility is what everyone (full-time and freelance) is looking for. Exhibit A: Our most recent Talent Ignition Report where 3,993 creatives agree. 


What’s the big deal with flexibility anyway? In a word, freedom. For employees, maybe it’s a late start so they can drop off the kids. Maybe it’s avoiding a time-sucking commute and occasionally working from home or off-hours. Not to mention the whole being-better-for-the-environment angle, due to smaller carbon footprints.

Employers like it too, especially when it comes to the bottom line. An extended workforce of freelancers means they can move more quickly, adjust teams to cover project peaks and valleys throughout the year, and basically stay competitive. Flexibility breeds happiness in workers, leading to greater productivity. (Forbes recently delved into a study on this.) Fewer people in the office means fewer desks and less catering needed, and the potential to hire more people without adding more space. For a deep dive into flexibility, we wax poetically here.

Remote Control

As you’d expect, working remotely is a key factor in flexibility. Employees working when, where, and how they want is on the rise. For high-growth roles like CX, UX, content marketing, and social, the number of Vitamin T and Aquent talent working remotely has gone from 12% to nearly 40% in the past five years.

If companies are open to remote workers, they open themselves up to a larger pool of talent with more diverse skills. Plus, they can save on compensation in high-rent markets like NYC since people can be hired from anywhere instead of just their high-demand backyard.


Want more to gnaw on? Check out our 2020 Salary Guide for all the meaty details

The Education Train

Yep, the world’s always changing. And to keep up, you need to evolve with it. So, even if you’re more of a word whisperer or design diva, consider expanding your knowledge into foreign territory—think tech, data, science—and make your own world even bigger. LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report finds AI and data science is booming. Udemy’s 2020 Workplace Learning Trends Report echoes that sentiment, saying that overall AI skills will be the most in demand, and Python, a computer programming language, the most popular skill to learn. US News & World Report puts software developer at the top of its 100 Best Jobs list for the third straight year.

Then there are also the non-technical or soft skills. The Muse forecasts talents like cross-cultural connection, adaptive thinking, new media literacy, and social intelligence taking a front seat.

So where can you get these most-wanted skills? Peruse Gymnasium’s free classes, which range from the tactical like Intro to Git and GitHub to the fuzzy Defeating Busy. (Here are 7 more squishy ones that are really helpful.) Check out adult-ed courses in your area; there’s usually a mix of online and in-person offerings.

And even if you’re super busy, you can squeeze in a brain sweat. Ever hear of microlearning? You have now. Learn a whole new skill in five minutes. (Entrepreneur and podcaster Tim Ferriss kickstarted his career with a similar idea for this TV show, Trial By Fire, where he would learn in one week a skill that people typically take years to master.)

That’s 2020 and beyond in a nutshell...

Ready to crack into it now?

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