What happened when someone started a career in let’s say the 1950’s, 60’s and even early 80’s? There was very little variation back then, especially if you were a white male graduating from university. You would look for a lifetime employer, preferably of a major company where you could start with a traineeship and gradually work your way up to the top. Whereby at a certain stage most of you would meet ‘Mr. Peter’ (the one from Peter’s principle), then realise that you’ve reached your limits and try to stay at that level until your pension. Changing companies was ‘not done’, most were company-monogamous. Of course, there are always exceptions, but most people would end their career at the same company where they had started, and those in consulting would probably end up at one of their clients in a senior management role.

We started to see a shift in the 80’s and 90’s. However, there were still some that started their career in line with those same old-fashioned principles. During the 20 years of our existence we increasingly receive CVs of candidates with 25 years of experience at the same company, and that were made redundant as part of a reorganisation. Many of them find it difficult to process this separation, and afterwards have issues with finding a new employer. Often because these companies doubt the ability of such loyal candidates to adapt to a new environment. And they’re not always wrong. Especially when candidate that after having been made redundant are not thorough enough in their thinking about their career next step and rather go back to work (too) quickly. We then see such candidates ‘hop’ companies without finding their way.

So we evolved from a life-time employer situation to one where companies search for candidates that are flexible, changing companies every 3-8 years. A pattern that shows a combination of loyalty and adaptability.

There’s nothing more certain than change and we strongly believe that career patterns are beginning to evolve at an even quicker pace…

That’s for next week’s blog:  THE EVOLUTION OF CAREERS: THE FUTURE

Stay safe and healthy!

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