Job Search 2024: My Predictions

A fortune teller, a Magic 8 Ball, or flipping a coin would be just as reliable as me predicting 2024’s job market. Nevertheless, I am willing to write my predictions of the 2024 job market so that when mid-December 2024 comes around, you can say, “Nick was right on the money,” or “Nick was way off base!”

I will begin not with a prediction but with an under-discussed obvious: Artificial intelligence, no longer a buzzword in 2023, will continue its disruption of workplaces throughout 2024 and beyond.

Many see AI as a productivity tool; I see it as a human replacement tool. The New York TimesThe Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal are now publishing AI-generated stories in the wake of mass layoffs of journalists and editors.

As AI adoption increases, inevitably, employees will find their productivity being compared to AI’s. Eventually, employers will view employees as a cost liability more than they do now.

For AI to create insightful, creative, and precise outputs such as research, problem-solving, artistic creations, decision-making, writing resumes and cover letters, and direct-to-publication content, to name just a few of the infinite tasks AI can do, effective prompting (communicating with the AI) is essential.

(Hand over heart, I did not use an AI tool to write this column.)

Therefore, my first 2024 prediction:

  • Prompting an AI with precision will become a highly desirable skill.

Regardless of how you feel about my belief that AI is intended to replace humans, as opposed to being a productivity enhancement tool, I hope you have the foresight to envision that employees who understand and are comfortable using AI will replace those who cannot.

Take away: Learn how to prompt effectively!

My other job market predictions for 2024:

  • Resumes will no longer be relevant.

AI tools such as ChatGPT, ClickUp, Copy.ai, Kickresume, et al., have made it easy for job seekers to create well-written and impressive resumes and effortlessly tailor them to a job description, which ironically makes a well-written and impressive resume not impressive. Employers know candidates can use AI to create a professional-looking resume and compelling cover letter, regardless of their writing ability.

In 2024 and beyond job searching and career management will require, more than ever, solid networking skills, a digital footprint that evangelizes your expertise, being a subject matter expert (SME) and having a proven track record. Interviews and reference checks will become more in-depth to determine if the candidate is as skilled as they claim to be.

  • 2024 will be the year of ‘The Great Stay.’

While the economy avoided a recession in 2023, it is slowing down. The current global economic situation, the state of China and other major economies, the ongoing geopolitical conflicts, and a 2024 US presidential election that is shaping up to be a dog fight have economic and political ramifications that are far from positive. Therefore, recession talk will intensify, leading companies to focus on critical roles and postpone hiring for roles that are not “must-haves.”

With the fear of a looming recession and employers shoring up job openings, 2024 will be the year of ‘The Great Stay’ as opposed to the ‘Great Resignation’ when many people switched jobs/careers during the pandemic.

  • Employee-employer relationships will begin to reset in full force.

Employers have their self-interest, and employees have their self-interest. Baby boomers and Gen X employees were likely to support their employer’s self-interest, under the notion that keeping their employer profitable usually meant securing their income.

Millennials were the first to see the writing on the wall that employee loyalty is a concept that no longer exists, and they started making demands. Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012, is rapidly dominating the workforce, almost outnumbering Baby Boomers, and is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to pressuring employers to “adjust” the employer-employee relationship.

You can expect Gen Zs to ratchet up on what they perceive as their “noble cause” of fighting for a saner, happier, healthier working life. In response to Gen Z’s Revolt, employers who do not take kindly to being told how to run their business will lean more on AI, robotics, automation, and freelancers to avoid dealing with Gen Z’s demands, which distracts from profits.

  • Job search and career success will still hinge on fundamentals and work ethics.

In 1849, French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr wrote “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.“ (The more things change, the more they stay the same.) Despite the seismic shifts and changes in the workplace since the mid-50s, what employers look for in a candidate has remained relatively the same.

Employers will keep looking for candidates who create undeniable value, not just put in clocked time, who have above-average communication skills, have a strong work ethic, will be reliable, possess the ability to think critically and above all, will fit their culture.

Despite all the uncertainty ahead, the key to creating job search luck in 2024 will be the same as it has always been: preparation and hard work. Ultimately, the best way to predict the future is to create it.

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

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