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Career Advice

9 Biggest Professional Breakthroughs of 2016

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated December 19, 2016

As we conclude another year, it is helpful to reflect on and celebrate amazing stories of success and advancement. This holds true with a multitude of career sector events, including executives marching ahead of the pack, companies outpacing the competition and the American working class’s current modus operandi. Moreover, HR professionals have had their share of adaptations, disruptions, and discussions including a focus on transparency, among other topics dominating conversations.

1. Executives Soaring Amid Disruptive Environment

Despite – and perhaps in large part because of – the intense pressure of a disrupted political and economic climate, executives have turned up the heat on being innovative and bottom-line centered, while keeping an eye on social impacts that influence their decisions. For public companies, providing value to shareholders also is front and center.

While many executives have climbed to new mountain peaks, a couple particularly stood out in 2016, one of whom has been recognized for her role on behalf of women in the workplace.

Tami Erwin, EVP of Operations at Verizon, was named a Power Woman by NY Moves magazine in their 2016 Power Women issue for leading by example in advocating for women, social fairness and equal opportunity.  This breakthrough achievement tops an already robust list of achievements by Erwin, including her 2012 listing in the Forbes Top 20 CMOs.

[Related: Glassdoor’s 4 Highest Rated Women CEOs in 2016]

What’s also pretty amazing is an executive who stemmed the bleeding of decreasing product demand and outperformed Wall Street expectations, ending 2016 on a hopeful note.  At the helm of “16 straight quarters of ‘earnings beats,’” Deere & Company’s CEO Samuel R. Allen saw the company’s stock jump 10% 10% in 2016 - a new all-time high. According to Allen, “Deere is probably going to earn at least $1.4 billion in its just-started fiscal 2017,” which is $1.2 billion more than Wall Street was expecting.  

[Related: 19 CEOs & Executives Reveal Their Best Advice]

2. American Working Class Agilely Responding to a Changing World While the American working class continues to navigate methods to fit into the dynamic world of work, they also have proven a resiliency and adaptability like never before. Gig jobs increasingly are becoming the norm, even while those same employees may also work full time elsewhere, as 9-to-5 work often is not enough to pay the bills. In some instances, gig workers simply desire more – a newer model car, a tropical vacation or a revamp of their home. Whatever the reasons, gig jobs and sideline contracting roles grow.

[Related: You’ll Never Guess Which 3 Jobs Are Being Paid More This Month]

According to an Oct. 2016 McKinsey Study as reported by Forbes, “20-30% of the labor force in both the U.S. and the EU-15 is now made up of independent workers who are self-employed or do temporary work.” The same report indicates that the independent workforce will grow in the future, largely in part because of the digital revolution.

3. HR Professionals Edging Into More Transparency

Human Resource professionals continue to adapt to an ever-changing economic and social climate, with the increasingly pressing call for transparency.

[Related: 5 Jobs Trends to Watch in 2017]

Roy Maurer quoted Glassdoor’s CEO, Robert Hohman in the Society for Human Resource Management’s article, Leveraging Transparency Is the Future of HR. In reflecting on the ‘why’ behind the imperativeness of transparency, Hohman said, “In a matter of minutes today, a job seeker can research a company, get a sense of the culture and the compensation and benefits, understand the interview process, and see all competitive job listings within a 20-mile radius. … Transparency is enabling people to make faster changes in their careers.”

He continued on to describe “transparency as a force which has reshaped industries and one that will not go away before it fundamentally changes human resources. …that the trend places more responsibility on HR to be strategic.” [Related: 3 Reasons to Find a New Job in 2017, According to an Economist] 4. Linking Accountability and Performance to Employee Pay + More Robust Corporate Bottom Line

With companies still struggling to remain competitive in an increasingly and globally competitive world, leadership is honing in on new and better ways to address compensation as a method to ensure profitability.

Building tangible and structured action plans that ensure individual accountability and performance are tied to pay is integral. These plans are reinforced by regularly measured milestones that both the company and the employee can review together to ensure a win-win outcome. [Related: 5 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Annual Performance Review] Companies – even those struggling amid downturns – are bridging budgetary gaps and creating healthier financial outcomes that in turn leads to more job security and financial remuneration for those loyal employees advocating for a stronger future. 5. Interview Processes Becoming More Nimble

Pre-interview screening vis-à-vis recorded phone interviews, Skype interviews, group interviews, screen sharing, being more transparent and front-loading the conversation with return-on-investment outcomes all have been front and center in 2016 interviewing.

[Related: 40 Interview Questions You Should Be Prepared to Ask & Answer] As well, the ante for perks and benefits has been upped as the ease with which candidates can find information on competitor companies’ salary and benefits structure increases, catapulting the ‘grass may be greener’ effect of job search.

6. Resurrecting After Failure

This trend has become more blatantly apparent in 2016 as various industries and organizations have floundered and scrambled, some quite successfully, to resurrect themselves amid the tumult of change and hyper competitiveness. Look no farther than the telecommunications, media and oil and gas industries to see examples of this. Companies continue to reimagine themselves into a more viable sustainable future.

[Related: 6 Ways To Recover If You Screw Up At Work]

7. Signature Enterprises Blazing a Trail

While commoditizing and scaling a business has a growth and investment advantage, a trend for more specialized and custom-tailored enterprises seems to be blazing a trail across industries. This more personalized service aligns well with the acceleration of gig jobs that enable independent performance and entrepreneurial differentiation.

8. Fewer Jobs Requiring Degrees

It would seem the value being placed on experience over education is increasing. Perhaps the most popular news item to this regard was when Ernst & Young announced that they were dropping the degree requirement when reviewing potential employees. Others are following suit. For example, global publishing group, Penguin Random House reported earlier this year that they “will no longer require candidates for new jobs to have a university degree.” In conjunction with the announcement, the company cited a desire to expand opportunities to a more diverse workforce.

[Related: 25 Cities Where Pay Goes Furthest]

9. Military Careerists Reaping Reputation Value in the Workplace

Veterans of the The United States Armed Forces are finding their marketability increasingly expanding. Former military candidates offer experiences that showcase cultural diversity across a globally connected workplace and personality traits that prove an ability to handle rigorous, demanding challenges. These disciplined behaviors are welcomed by employers battling a disrupted, rapid-pace and competitive corporate climate.

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