Employed for Life

21st-Century Career Trends

by Tracey Wilen-Daugenti (Author) Courtney L. Vien (Author) Gary Daugenti (Author)
©2014 Textbook VII, 167 Pages


Employed for Life: 21st-Century Career Trends is the first book to explore career development from the viewpoints of firm managers, HR professionals, recruiters, job seekers, and employees. It examines such topics as new developments in recruiting and career development; the ways social, cultural, and technological forces have changed careers; and best practices for job hunting and career planning. The authors use primary and secondary research to provide insight on how the nature of work has changed and what that means for individuals' career plans. Employed for Life shares career advice from recruiters and HR professionals and provides a framework that readers can use to ensure lifelong employment.
Some of the questions answered in this book include:
How are the new demographics of the United States changing the way we work?
How will longevity impact career planning?
Is technology creating more jobs than it destroys?
What are HR professionals doing to address talent management in the 21st century?
What insights can recruiters provide to help employees navigate a dynamic marketplace?
How are employees finding work in a difficult job market?
How can individuals plan for a career that could last 50 years or longer?

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Authors
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • HR professionals
  • Recruiting professionals
  • Contributors of surveys and research studies
  • Graphics
  • Introduction: Times Have Changed—Has Your Career Plan?
  • 1. Societal Forces: How Technology, Globalization, Longevity, and Demographics Will Impact Your Career
  • Technology
  • The Information Revolution
  • Globalization
  • An Interconnected World
  • Prosperity and Opportunity
  • Complexity and Competition
  • Longevity
  • Redefining Retirement
  • One Long Lifetime, Many Careers
  • Generations Collide
  • The Generations at Work
  • Baby Boomers: Vital Well Past Middle Age
  • Generation Xers: Frustration in Mid-Career
  • Millennials: Hyperconnected and Ambitious
  • Looking Ahead: Generation Z
  • Diversity
  • Ethnic Diversity
  • A Nation of Immigrants
  • Women
  • The Rise of the Female Entrepreneur
  • The Right Leadership Style for the 21st Century
  • Families
  • Generation and Gender
  • The Multigenerational Family—and Household
  • Work-Life Balance: Not Only for Parents
  • Putting It Together: VUCA
  • Notes
  • 2. From Ladder to Labyrinth: New Ways of Working and the Rise of the Do-It-Yourself Career
  • The Do-It-Yourself Career Path
  • Changing Priorities
  • Redefining Success
  • Changing Trajectories
  • Changing Options
  • Beyond the Corporation
  • Freelancing
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Franchises
  • Small Businesses
  • Medium-Sized Firms
  • Nonprofits
  • Public Sector Jobs
  • Inside the Corporation
  • Changing Workplaces
  • Project-Based Work
  • Flat Hierarchies
  • Changing Needs
  • Notes
  • 3. Innovations: Technologies with the Potential to Reshape Your Job
  • Big Data
  • Sensor Technology
  • Social Media
  • Mobile Computing
  • Cloud Computing
  • Smart Machines
  • Virtual and Augmented Reality
  • Solar Energy
  • Wearable Technology
  • Underwater Technology
  • Space Tourism
  • Employability in a Technology-Based World
  • Notes
  • 4. On the Front Lines of Career Planning: HR Professionals Discuss What’s New in Career Development
  • Coming to a Company Near You: Career Planning Today
  • Firms Have a Vital Role to Play in Career Development
  • How Firms Can Improve Their Career Development Systems
  • How Individuals Can Boost Their Career Development
  • The Future of Career Development
  • Notes
  • 5. Recruiters Speak: Skills to Have, Trends to Know About, and Tips for Job-Hunting Success
  • Recruiting Today: Technology Brings Convenience and Competition
  • Skill Requirements in an Employer’s Market
  • Cultural Fit Is Now a Factor
  • Best Practices for Job Seekers
  • Learn from Successful Job Hunters
  • Job-Hunting Strategies for Recent College Graduates
  • Job-Hunting Strategies for People Over 50
  • When Your Search Isn’t Going as Well as You’d Like
  • 6. Recruiters 101: What You Need to Know to Make Recruiters Part of Your Career Strategy By Gary Daugenti, Founder and President, Gent & Associates
  • Understanding Recruiters
  • Want a Recruiter to Find You? Don’t Leave Your Job
  • How to Get In Touch with Recruiters
  • What Happens When a Recruiter Looks at Your Resume
  • A Recruiter Just Left Me a Message: Now What?
  • What Not to Do When Working with Recruiters
  • The Importance of Face-to-Face Networking in a Technological Society
  • 7. Your Career Adventure: A Framework for Planning Your Career
  • Are You Ready?
  • Create a Personal Plan for Your Life
  • Sample Frameworks
  • Prompt Questions
  • Work
  • Finances
  • Health
  • Education
  • Social/Family
  • Leisure
  • Other
  • Follow-Up
  • Notes
  • A Parting Word
  • Summary of Key Points
  • References
  • Index


The authors would like to thank the following individuals for their contributions to this book:

HR professionals:

Allison Allen, Rich Andersen, Andrew Greenberg, Pamela Hardy, Rich James, Sara Lautenbach, Katherine Markgraf, Keith Meyerson, Meg Paradise, Megan Remark, Karen Robinson, Christine Roggenbusch, Tim Russell, Nancy Sullivan, Sam Wageman

Recruiting professionals:

Rich Andersen, Anne Angelopoulos, Jennifer Brent, Lisa Francone, Leslie Lazarus, Sheila Maultsby, Elsa Meyer, Kyle Misiak, Maureen Perkins, Carolyn Redman, Rich Smith, Jim Stroud, Sam Wageman

Contributors of surveys and research studies:

Gent & Associates, Juststaff


Linda Fisher ← vii | viii →

← viii | 1 → INTRODUCTION

Times Have Changed—Has Your Career Plan?

Not that long ago, careers in the corporate world were fairly straightforward. You’d earn a college degree and go to work for a company where the vast majority of your colleagues would be white and male. The company would train and develop you. You’d move up the ladder, gaining power, prestige, and income along the way. Even if you didn’t work for the same firm for your entire career, you’d probably stay within the same industry. You’d retire at around 65, perhaps collecting a generous pension and the proverbial gold watch, or perhaps not, but certainly planning to live off your ample savings.

Those days are long gone. Now, workers spend an average of only four years at a job and often have more than one career during their lifetimes. Most careers aren’t linear upward climbs any more; instead, they resemble lattices or labyrinths, as employees have greater freedom to change industries, freelance, take sabbaticals, return to school, opt for part-time work, or pursue business ownership as their life circumstances change. Companies engage in less training and a single college degree will no longer carry a worker throughout her career. The workforce is considerably more diverse in terms of race, gender, and national background. Pensions are a thing of the past, and retiring at 65 is no longer a viable option for many people.

But many workers behave as though the old paradigm is still in place. They assume they’ll stay with one company until they retire or are forced out, and believe that their education ended with their bachelor’s degree. They don’t keep up ← 1 | 2 → with trends in their industry and are caught off guard when they’re laid off or their company goes out of business. They believe that being good enough at a static set of skills will ensure their employability, and are surprised when they aren’t hired or when more agile workers are promoted over them. They see working for a large corporation as their only employment option, and anticipate their career will end when they retire in their mid-60s.

This mindset is long out of date, and can be a barrier to employability in today’s career marketplace. If it sounds like yours, even a little bit, we suggest changing the way you think about your working life. View yourself not as a worker bee who’ll be rewarded for diligence and talent but as an entrepreneur: someone who sets a clear strategy for his or her career, but isn’t afraid to make changes when things aren’t going as planned; who understands and markets his or her strengths; who takes calculated risks; who researches his or her “customers”—potential employers—and gives them what they want; and who’s always innovating.

In this book, we’ll share some ways you can move towards this entrepreneurial mindset. In Chapters 1, 2, and 3, we’ll show you the cultural and technological factors that are changing work forever, what that means for your career, and which skills and characteristics you need to cultivate to be successful in the world of do-it-yourself career planning. Chapter 1 discusses the impact of four societal factors on work: technology; globalization; longevity (and its corollary, members of multiple generations sharing the workplace); and demographics, including the rise of women, the increased ethnic diversity of the United States, and changes in gender roles and family patterns. Chapter 2 describes the shift from linear to labyrinthine careers, one marked by multiple changes in industry and employment type over the course of a working lifetime. It covers such topics as the new values that are driving people’s careers; different work patterns within large corporations; and some of the many employment options individuals can choose from, including freelancing, entrepreneurship, and working for small or medium-sized companies. Chapter 3 explores some of today’s most prominent technologies, such as big data, social media, cloud computing, and solar power and discusses how they’re changing careers by creating new jobs, destabilizing industries, and increasing skill requirements.

In Chapters 4, 5, and 6, we’ll share insights from human resources (HR) professionals and recruiters on planning your career, finding jobs, and staying employed. Chapter 4 draws upon interviews with HR professionals to inform you about the latest trends in career development and best career development practices for both individuals and companies. Chapter 5 brings together interviews with recruiters and the results of a survey of successful job seekers to give you insider advice on how to find a job in an employer’s market. Chapter 6, written by co-author Gary Daugenti, founder and president of recruiting firm Gent & Associates, is a primer on working with recruiters: the people who have a pipeline to ← 2 | 3 → some of the best compensated and most interesting jobs. Daugenti explains how recruiters operate, how to contact them, what to do if they approach you, and some things not to do when working with them.

In Chapter 7, we provide you with a simple but powerful framework you can use to plan a career that may last 50 years or longer. This framework will help you visualize the connections between work, education, finances, health, leisure, and your relationship with friends and family, and to foresee a life where all these different strands are brought into balance. ← 3 | 4 →

← 4 | 5 → CHAPTER ONE

Societal Forces

How Technology, Globalization, Longevity, and Demographics Will Impact Your Career

Four forces have converged that have changed the workplace forever: the astonishing ascendency of communications technology, particularly the Internet; globalization, which has increased competition but also opportunity for both companies and individual workers; demographic shifts, including increased ethnic diversity, the growing presence of women in the workplace, and a rise in the number of nontraditional families; and extended longevity, which has reshaped the concept of retirement and made it possible to have more than one full-scale career in a lifetime. In this chapter, we look at each of these forces in depth, illustrating how they’ve changed the workplace and what new skills and characteristics you’ll need to acquire as a result.


If you’ve ever used your smartphone in a store to check if the price of an item was cheaper online, you’ve participated in the practice known as showrooming. You’re not alone: Some 70% of customers say they’ve researched merchandise on the Internet while shopping offline.1 Showrooming has proven a blow to brick-and-mortar retailers, who spend vast amounts of money stocking and displaying items only to lose sales to Amazon. The practice has been considered a factor in the demise of such companies as Circuit City, Borders, CompUSA, and Tweeter.2

Savvy retailers, however, have adapted to showrooming by changing their business practices. Nordstrom, Target, and Best Buy, for example, compete with ← 5 | 6 → online retailers by using such tactics as price matching online competitors, offering superior customer service, improving the shopping experience, implementing reward programs that encourage customers to buy in-store, and introducing mobile payments.3

In like fashion, workers need to learn to adjust to new technologies, or risk being left unemployable. Technology has made the employment landscape volatile, as innovations have the potential to disrupt or even eliminate entire industries. (We’ll discuss a few of these game-changing innovations in Chapter 3.) Consider, as a cautionary tale, the freestanding GPS device. Just a few short years ago, these gadgets were considered state-of-the-art. Now, sophisticated navigation apps may render them obsolete.4

Technology advances with breathtaking speed. To reach 50 million households, it took radio 38 years, television 13 years, the Internet four years, and Facebook just two years.5 In 2005, just 8% of Americans used social networks; in 2011, 65% did.6 eBay was only launched in 1995, Google in 1998, Facebook in 2004, Twitter in 2006, and Instagram in 2010, and yet it’s hard to imagine life without them.

Thus, to stay employable today, you must not expect that your company and industry will remain static for long. Think of the household-name companies that have gone out of business in recent years because they were unable to adapt to the changes technology brought about. Blockbuster could not compete with Netflix, Borders with Amazon, or Tower Records with iTunes. Kodak invented digital photography but could not capitalize on it. Even that venerable institution, the newspaper, is losing ground to the Internet. Two hundred and twenty newspapers closed between 1990 and 2009, the most recent year for which figures are available, largely because of competition from online news.7 Some futurists predict that the last print newspaper will go out of business by 2040.8


VII, 167
ISBN (Hardcover)
ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2013 (December)
recruiting technology talent management job hunting
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 167 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Tracey Wilen-Daugenti (Author) Courtney L. Vien (Author) Gary Daugenti (Author)

Dr. Tracey Wilen is a prominent thought leader on the impact of technology on society and careers. A former visiting scholar at Stanford University's Media X program and a former Silicon Valley executive, she is the author of 11 books, including Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders. Dr. Courtney L. Vien is a freelance writer and editor based in Durham, North Carolina. A former senior editor for the Apollo Research Institute, she is the author of five books, including Women Lead: Career Perspectives from Workplace Leaders, and numerous web and print articles, reports, and white papers. Gary Daugenti is the president and founder of the executive search firm Gent & Associates. He has over 20 years of recruiting experience and over 25 years of business experience in technology and management consulting.


Title: Employed for Life