With shifts in the job market coming so quickly, several trends seem poised to change the way we work dramatically within the next five years.

Three Trends That Will Change the Future of Work

The way that Americans work and think about work is changing: driven by disruptive technology and shifting ideas about job stability, nearly 15.5 million people in the U.S. describe themselves as self-employed while almost 54 million people currently identify themselves as freelancers. With shifts in the market coming so quickly, several trends seem poised to dramatically change the way we work within the next five years.

Smaller City Work Centers

With the cost of living rising in many urban areas faster than income and inflation, “second-tier” cities like Austin, Raleigh, Seattle and Denver are becoming more attractive to both businesses and workers. The rise of remote working, and tools to support it, has made workers increasingly nomadic – seeking positions that offer the most flexibility, as shown by a recent study that reported that 70 percent of employees would switch jobs to gain more flexibility.

Greater specialized expertise is more hotly in demand, but few are a “specialist for life” in any one thing anymore.

The Rise of Nanospecialties

Gone are the days when people settled into long-term careers early and stayed in them for decades. Greater specialized expertise is more hotly in demand, but few are  “specialists for life” in any one thing anymore. This is changing the ways companies think about hiring and retention of employees. Online-learning companies like Udacity are now offering “nanodegrees”—courses where workers are taught practical skills that will hold them in a job for roughly a year or two until it’s time to move on and learn something new. These “nanojobs” mean that regular job-hopping is likely to be the norm within the next few years, reducing the stigma of regular changes in employment.

Job Seekers Looking For Something Better

In spite of slowed economic and GDP growth over the last few years, job seekers have never had more leverage to be choosy about the positions they accept. With the relatively flat growth of salaries and other professional opportunities within established companies, workers are beginning to prioritize alternative considerations when considering taking an offer: considerations like work-from-home flexibility, how much they might learn from a job, or health benefits or stock options. To this last point, entrepreneurship has been expanding rapidly and redistributing work throughout every social class and locality. Not finding the jobs they want, employment seekers are venturing out on their own and working for themselves according to their own schedule. This includes starting their own businesses as well as freelancing and becoming more specialized in order to command higher rates. These ad-hoc teams of employees could have a tangible economic benefit, to the tune of adding $2.7 trillion to global GDP by 2025.  

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