How Many of These 2014 Workplace Trends Do You Expect To See Before 2020?

We're all more than painfully aware that the accounting profession as a whole is generally the last little lemming to go launching off the cliff, after all, so if these are "trends" in the workplace in general, expect to see them take hold in the profession at least by the time you're ready to retire.

Dan Schwabel says these 10 trends in the workplace for 2014 "will affect you one way or another next year," see what you think:

2. Freelancing becomes a normal way of life

One third of Americans are freelancers (17 million people), contractors and consultants right now and there will be more of them than full-time employees in six years. Employers are saving more money hiring freelancers because they don’t have to pay benefits (they will want to avoid the Obamacare penalties for instance) and they are looking to hire experts who can complete specialized projects. This also means that more professionals will be working from home instead of a traditional office setting, which saves companies money. Despite how the public views the working from home phenomenon, Gallup reports that you are more engaged when working from home.

Outsourced accounting services are a growing business, but that doesn't necessarily mean the firms doing this work are doing it from home. Go ahead, plug "telecommute" into GC Jobs and see what comes back, I'll wait.

4. The economy delays career growth

The economy hit the workforce really hard and there are no clear signs that it’s going to bounce back any time soon. The Congressional Budget Office expects unemployment to remain near 8% in 2014 and Generation Opportunity reports that there is a 15.9% unemployment rate for millennials. A new study between my company and PayScale.com shows that millennials are most likely to have had to move back home with their parents due to financial hardship after starting their careers (28 percent) compared to Gen X (11 percent) or Baby Boomers (5 percent). Millennial workers are now 30 years old before hitting a median wage of $42,000–up from 26 back in 1980. Millions of millennials are moving back in with their parents when they graduate and Pew Reports that 36% of millennials are choosing to put off moving out on their own. Many recent graduates are finally getting internships, which delay their ability to actually get a full time job. Degrees and internships don’t guarantee jobs anymore and the economy has slowed down career development for many.

Doesn't apply, you guys have your pick of jobs and accounting is still one of the most reliable majors out there.

6. Employers create new ways of filtering candidates

Every year it becomes more competitive to apply for jobs because there are more applicants for fewer positions. In the past, I’ve called this the black hole of resumes and the Wall Street Journal calls it “resume oblivion“. Companies, especially larger ones, are finding new ways to filter candidates. One of them is to have HR programs that filter out those who didn’t graduate from college. The second way is to use social networks to screen candidates. Jobvite.com reports that 94% of employers are using social networks for recruiting and that number will be about 100% next year I predict. More smaller companies and even midsize companies are looking at your online footprint first before giving you an interview to see if you would fit into the corporate culture and if there’s anything negative that comes up for your name. More companies will be using tests next year to try and close the skills gap. One test is called the “Collegiate Learning Assessment“, which provides an objective, benchmarked report card for critical thinking skills.

What this means is that you're lucky we don't actually include your name when we publish awful farewell emails.

10. Reputation become more important for both professionals and companies

The word “reputation” will be talked about in length next year by employers and professionals alike because people will be hired and promoted based on it and will only work at a company that has a positive one. For professionals, companies are focusing their recruiting on outcomes, waiting for the perfect hire and are more risk averse. They want to hire a candidate that already has a reputation built on a strong track record. From the professionals standpoint, they are starting to judge companies based on reputation when deciding where to work. A recent study by CareerBuilder shows that about 75% of job seekers will accept a lower salary for a good brand.

I'll be damned, the profession actually has a jump on this one. Somehow you guys have all bought into the idea that one firm is better or worse than the other due to work/life flexibility, comp, prestige and company culture. And, of course, you all also buy into the stuff they post on their "Life at" Twitter accounts because that's all very believable and adds to the perceived prestige of their dynamic brands.

Accounting Today assembled 20 trends in accounting earlier this year that are slightly more applicable to this particular audience, like spying on clients through social media, open workspaces, and outsourced CFOs. That sounds a little more like it.

Oh, and this (minus the jeans, obvs):

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