The Future of Work: A Look Ahead

 As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, the way we work is also changing. Many experts predict that the future of work will be heavily influenced by automation, artificial intelligence, and remote work.

One trend that is already well underway is the increasing use of automation in the workplace. Many tasks that were previously done by humans are now being taken over by robots or computer programs, even in our own homes. This trend is likely to continue, with more and more jobs being automated in the coming years.

Artificial intelligence is also playing a role in the future of work. AI-powered tools are being developed to assist with a variety of tasks, from data analysis to customer service. These tools have the potential to revolutionize the way we work. Making it possible to complete tasks faster and more efficiently. But at what cost? How many of us lose a job to an artificially intelligent program?

Remote work is another trend expected to shape work’s future. With the proliferation of high-speed internet and the rise of virtual collaboration tools, it is becoming easier for people to work from anywhere in the world. This trend is likely to continue, with more and more companies offering flexible work arrangements that allow employees to work remotely.

Overall, the future of work looks to be a mix of automation, artificial intelligence, and remote work. While these trends may bring about some challenges, they also have the potential to create new opportunities and improve the way we work.

If you’ve ever felt trapped or otherwise burned by an employer’s noncompete clause, now is your chance to let the government know.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is proposing a new rule that would effectively ban employers from utilizing noncompete clauses, which, the FTC estimates, would increase wages for American workers by as much as $296 billion annually. The proposed rule would make it illegal for employers to enter into or maintain noncompete contracts with workers.

Noncompete clauses (or simply “noncompetes,” as they’re often called) generally prohibit workers from starting their own businesses to directly compete with an employer’s company or going to work for a competitor for a specific period of time or within a certain geographic region. While some employers use noncompetes to protect trade secrets or intellectual property, they have been adopted by many employers as a method to prevent workers from finding and accepting other jobs in their industry or starting their own companies.

The FTC says that as many as 30 million American workers are affected by noncompetes, and as such, they are a drag on the overall economy by decreasing competition for employees and stifling would-be entrepreneurs. Earlier this year, the Treasury Department published a report showing that noncompetes, along with other anticompetitive measures utilized by U.S. employers, have decreased wages for workers by 20%.

“Noncompetes block workers from freely switching jobs, depriving them of higher wages and better working conditions, and depriving businesses of a talent pool that they need to build and expand,” said Lina M. Khan, chair of the FTC, in a statement. “By ending this practice, the FTC’s proposed rule would promote greater dynamism, innovation, and healthy competition.”

The public will be able to submit comments regarding the proposed rule for 60 days, which will then be reviewed before the rule is made final. It would take effect 180 days after it’s published. 

The FTC’s action comes a day after Khan announced that the agency was taking action against three companies for using noncompetes on their workers. One of those companies, Prudential Security, “used noncompetes to prevent security guards it hired from leaving to work for a rival within 100 miles for 2 years after departing,” Khan tweeted on Wednesday. “Many guards earned near minimum wage. Prudential subjected them to a $100K penalty for violating the noncompete,” she continued, which the company “repeatedly enforced.”

It’s situations such as this that have spurred the FTC to action, as there doesn’t seem to be any justifiable reason for a security guard earning low wages to be subject to a non-compete agreement, other than to prevent their employer from potentially facing higher turnover costs. 

The FTC’s proposal is likely to generate significant pushback from the business community, although in some states the use of noncompetes is already banned and restricted to various degrees. For workers, the passage of the rule could lead to higher wages. For instance, Oregon banned noncompetes for hourly workers in 2008, which led to an increase in hourly wages of between 2% and 3% on average, according to past research.

While noncompetes are much more common among high-paying jobs in specific industries, economists do consider them to be something of an economic anchor, suppressing wage growth and entrepreneurship. Accordingly, if the FTC is successful in publishing its proposed rule, it could open up new opportunities for millions of workers. “The freedom to change jobs is core to economic liberty and to a competitive, thriving economy,” said Khan, in the FTC’s statement.

Looking for a job in tech? You're in luck. There's rarely been a better time to do so.

This might sound counterintuitive based on recent headlines. Amid lingering economic uncertainty, the bloodbath in Silicon Valley has been brutal: Amazon is cutting 18,000 jobsMeta slashed 11,000 roles, and Twitter fired 3,750 people. 

And yet research suggests that well-paying tech jobs are abundant — they're just not in the tech industry. Job postings for tech-focused roles were up 25% from January to October 2022 compared with the same period in 2021, according to a report from Dice, the tech careers site. Around 60% of the top 100 employers of tech talent were from sectors like healthcare, consulting, defense, and banking.

Meanwhile, a study from workforce data provider Revelio Labs found that nearly three-fourths of the laid-off tech workers last year found a new job within three months; more than half found a job that paid more than what they previously earned.

"It's a reminder of just how expansive the tech workforce is — it's not just Silicon Valley," said Tim Herbert, the chief research officer at Comptia. "Every industry sector hires tech professionals and there are tech hubs around the country in many cities that may fly under the radar."

So if you're a tech worker looking to pitch yourself to a new industry, what's the best way to go about it? How can you get the attention of recruiters? And how can you use your non-traditional background to your advantage? Insider spoke with four recruiters and coaches for their best tips.

Pay special attention to keywords and language

If you've spent your career in Big Tech, applying for a job in healthcare or banking might seem like a leap for a recruiter who's inundated with resumes. That's why you need to help them connect the dots, said Kyle Elliott, a career and interview coach based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Elliott suggested using keywords from the job posting and rewriting your resume in its image. For example, let's say the posting requires that a candidate has project management skills and leadership experience.

"You should write bullet points with those keywords and that explain how your past experience fits," he said. "You're saying, 'You're looking for these skills: I have them.'"

Another pro-tip: Using the language of the industry you're targeting. In your past life, you might have called customers "users." But in healthcare, they're called patients and in banking, they're called clients. 

"Think of the job posting as a recipe card," he said.

Soft skills can really shine

Many jobs have technical screeners to them, so soft skills like "polish and presentation" can really make a candidate stand out, said Tyler Martin, the vice president of talent supply at freelancing platform Toptal.

"You can't just go into a hole, code by yourself for three months, and not tell anyone what you're doing," Martin said. "Exceeding in the softer skills is something that will set aside most of the tech talent from each other honestly."

Letting these soft skills shine includes being yourself, said Abhi Shrikhande, the vice president and general manager for technology services at Toptal. He emphasized that people do their best work when they feel comfortable.

"Typically where it doesn't go as well as when somebody came into the engagement — or somebody came into the interview process — trying to win the job as if it's a win-loss thing, as opposed to trying to find the right fit," Shrikhande said.

Think about your 'playbooks'

You might be inclined to hide or be bashful about your non-traditional background, but Elliott and other experts say there's no need. Rather, he advised using your cover letter to call attention to the advantages you have over other candidates. Your experience elsewhere is actually a virtue.

"Don't hide it — shine a light on why you're a strong candidate even though you come from a different industry," said Elliott.

Given the amount of flux in the tech labor market, keeping an open but clear mind is important during the job search, added Christy Schumann, the senior vice president of talent operations at Toptal.

"You want something that you enjoy and that's motivating for you, but look at the opportunities that are presented holistically," Schumann said. "Promote multiple aspects of your experience on your resume, including all the certifications, because now is the time to just make sure you have a holistic view of yourself."

Be thoughtful and smart about how you position yourself, said Allison Hemming, CEO of Hired Guns, a digital talent agency. "Think about what playbooks you have to offer and how they apply to Fortune 2000 companies," she said. 

In others, think about ways to translate your past experience and achievements to a new sector. Perhaps you helped create a data strategy, or you designed a cybersecurity system, or you wrote the code for a digital software product. Ask yourself: How could I do similar things in a new industry?

"If you can show how you'll transfer your expertise and know-how, that's a compelling offering."

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