Let me start by saying, this is not an article that gives you tips on how to negotiate a higher salary. This editorial feature is a conversation about the future employment landscape and adjusting your thinking on compensation.
The Two Dirty “A” Terms.
We need to address the elephant in the room. The job market is going to be very different over the next decade, thanks to a growing advancement in how work is performed. The two “A” terms I referenced in the subtitle is automation and artificial intelligence. Currently, there are billions of dollars in corporate capital expenditures targeting these areas. Over the next decade, we will inevitably see technology disruption and subsequent reduction in some areas of the workforce.
How Do You Deal With The Impending Change?
My father spent over forty years at the same company before retiring. This story is probably similar to many of your parents or grandparents. Unfortunately, this will probably not be the same story for us or our children. The more we can embrace the impermanent nature of employment, the better off we will be in the long run. A successful career may take the form of working in your area of expertise over a few different organizations. It may include a few stints as a freelancer and maybe a complete transition into another field of choice due to technology disruption. The need for those in the working class to be flexible will be even more imperative.
What does this have to do with compensation?
Innately, many of us understand the more transient nature of careers, but we treat each job as if it will be forever. I recommend anyone in the midst of an employment change be mindful that forever is composed of nows, as quoted by Emily Dickinson. Some of the areas of inquiry you should take into consideration are the following.
1) Does the company provide equity or ownership stake?
Receiving shares of a start-up technology company is pretty standard, but they are not the only types of companies that do this. It may be worth the risk to take a little less in salary for stock shares; depending if you believe in the company. Having ownership shares can potentially provide quarterly dividends or a sellable asset source available long after you have moved on from the organization.
2) Do they provide training or tuition reimbursement?
You always have to be improving your current skills or looking to learn new ones. Staying sharp and ahead of the curve will help to improve your ability to find new opportunities, and increase your potential compensation.
3) Is this a prestige position?
Some positions allow you to write your own professional ticket, so to speak. Working with a preeminent expert or firm allows you significant leverage in where you choose to go afterward, especially if you develop a reputation for stellar work.
In conclusion, I hope these words of wisdom will be a help to my student colleagues starting their career journey and to some of the returning undergrads facing a changing career landscape.