How the Sharing Economy and Instant Gratification Will Shape Your Career
Fred Wilson recently spelled it out in an article about the sharing economy, "The Internet, mobile phones, native transaction systems and a global network that connects billions of people in real-time are changing a lot of things, and assets that sat wasting are now going to [be] activated."
I agree with Fred’s statement; and I also see the instant gratification movement, combined with the sharing economy, as the major force that will re-shape how professionals get ahead in their careers by using previously wasted assets. At TheLadders, we’re calling this the Referral Economy. It’s going to change everything, from whom you trust with career questions to where you go when you want to explore new opportunities.
The 'Sharing Economy'
Jason Tanz recently wrote a fascinating article about the sharing economy, outlining exactly how a new way of connecting with our neighbors is changing our nation’s ability to trust, leading us to engage in behaviors we would have found risky just a few years ago.
Tanz points out that these companies have us "hopping into strangers’ cars (Lyft, Sidecar,Uber), welcoming them into our spare rooms (Airbnb), dropping our dogs off at their houses (DogVacay, Rover) and eating food in their dining rooms (Feastly)."
These new behaviors are not only helping us trust one another, but allowing us to depend on our peers and neighbors in ways that were previously unthinkable.
These new behaviors are not only helping us trust one another, but allowing us to depend on our peers and neighbors in ways that were previously unthinkable. Of all the areas in which we’re seeing this trend occur, the industry with potential for the greatest impact is the career industry.It used to be that this type of "sharing" within careers only happened in the "old boys' club." Maybe you went to Harvard or Yale, or your parents were influential in a certain industry. When you needed a job, or information and guidance in your career, you tapped into these networks for advice and referrals. Now, social media is leveling the playing field in all areas of our lives. It’s easier than ever to network and reach out to influencers for advice — though it’s still a cumbersome process to leverage our ever-expanding networks.I see the model for the sharing economy enabling this networking process to become more seamless and personal. This will lead us to trust our peers more easily and feel more comfortable asking them for information that will allow us to make more informed career decisions.
The 'Uberfication' of services
Another tech trend that will have a huge impact on the career industry is referred to as the 'Uberfication' of services. Liz Gannes recently touched on this trend in her article, "Living in an Instant World." She writes, "On-demand companies are using technology to connect people and services.
This I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it trend isn’t going away anytime soon."
This I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want-ittrend isn’t going away anytime soon."Today, a whole generation of professionals is used to getting whatever they want delivered to their doors, whenever they want it. Why then, wouldn’t they have the same expectations for information about their career? We’re already seeing this trend when it comes to hearing back from an employer after an interview: Job seekers want feedback as soon as possible, and if they don’t hear from a company within three days, they think it’s the same as not getting the job at all.The expectation for instant career-information gratification will only increase in the near future. The companies that embrace this challenge and provide relevant tools and information, on-demand and at the fingertips of professionals, will be at the forefront of the shift we’re about to see take over the career industry.
What the future looks like
Imagine it’s Monday evening. You’re a marketing manager, watching a ball game at Yankee Stadium. An app notifies you that there are five other marketing managers in the stadium making more money than you do. A few minutes later, the same app recommends three relevant jobs that would get you a $15,000 increase. Wouldn’t it be amazing if that app could also tap into your network and enable one of your well connected friends to refer you to the hiring manager for one of those better-paying positions? A tool built around the singular purpose of improving your career is where the convergence of the Referral Economy and the Uberfication of services for the career industry is headed. As I mentioned in an article earlier this month, there are many significant challenges facing the career and job industry today. One of the biggest challenges is that professionals around the country are not aware of how they fare against their peers, or how to leverage their professional network to improve their careers. These skills were never taught in school, and the curtain obscuring this valuable information has never been lifted to make career improvement easier for all professionals.
The job industry has been notoriously slow to adapt to change, but mark my words: The future is coming sooner than you think.
The job industry has been notoriously slow to adapt to change, but mark my words: The future is coming sooner than you think. The industry is in the middle of a major platform shift from desktop to mobile (40% of career traffic today is mobile and native), and it’s happening fast. Mobile has the power to provide instant gratification for the valuable information you need to manage your career and get ahead. Before you know it, you’ll be able to find out who in your network makes more than you do, and how many of your peers are getting career-changing promotions or important raises. Couple this with the power of the sharing economy, and you have a perfect situation for positioning yourself as a valuable asset to any company, whenever you need to.Finally, this shift will allow for the development of a transparent and efficient career marketplace; one that leverages your phone as the operating system, and where market insights are derived from big data hosted in the cloud. This will be a place where colleagues, mentors, former college buddies and friends go to collaborate and refer each other to the best available opportunities.This is the Referral Economy: An economy that empowers every professional to improve his or her career and get ahead. This is the future. And it’s just one tap away.