- Employers should focus on developing nonlinear career pathways as burned out workers begin to question their futures, and they could turn to external partnerships to do so, according to a Josh Bersin Company report released last week.
- That work could prove challenging, JBC said in a press release, given that new paths may not be “immediately obvious” to HR or employees themselves. The firm said employers may need to experiment with artificial intelligence solutions that can identify skill patterns and “intervene preemptively with optimal suggestions.”
- "The message we're sharing is not what many employers might expect,” Bersin said in a statement. “Expect to hear a lot more on this theme of people moving from role to role, across domains and across industries. And this will be especially among younger generations who are more open to portfolio careers and side hustles."
The HR industry veteran’s words come at a strange time for the profession, with U.S. job openings seeing their largest one-month drop in years and signs of an economic slowdown abundant. JBC’s report was also published just months after the firm released survey data that showed 85% of corporate training departments said they felt ill-equipped to create new career paths.
Though demand for skilled workers generally remains high in the current market, stakeholders — particularly worker advocates — have said that employers limit themselves by not expanding their recruiting efforts to include candidates with atypical career paths.
JBC pointed to retailer Walmart and its “Live Better U” program as an example of how to expand nonlinear career path opportunities. That program, per Bersin, has seen Walmart throw in training, rotation and education assistance initiatives to move front-line associates to other fields, namely cybersecurity.
Recent data may lend some credence to the idea that cross-industry training may appeal to workers. According to a Pew Research Center analysis published in July, about 4% of workers changed industries in an average month between 2019 and 2021. Moreover, April BambooHR survey results found that, of 2,000 U.S. adults who were employed in the last two years, 63% said they had considered changing their career path, industry or heading back to school.
Still, the opportunity to pursue more lucrative and engaging careers may be uneven at best. Hourly workers, in particular, largely do not receive opportunities for job advancement or promotion, according to a recent Jobcase study.