Career and Workplace Predictions for 2017

Forecasts and trends that may affect your worklife.

Posted Jan 04, 2017

InfoWire.DK, Public Domain
Source: InfoWire.DK, Public Domain

The past two years, I’ve written career and workplace predictions for TIME and they’ve been reasonably accurate. So here are my predictions for 2017.

Part-timing/temping/automating will continue to eliminate good jobs. Indeed, that trend will accelerate because of pressures to increase minimum wage and benefits, for example, Paid Family Leave. Also, job seekers are feeling increased antipathy to corporations. Why would corporations want to hire people who disdain them?

Progress will remain incremental in artificial intelligence. Five or ten years from now, we should see, for example, autonomous vehicles but not just yet. That said, we're already seeing some proof of concept. For example, USC's virtual psychotherapist, Ellie, is now treating soldiers with PTSD and depression.  IBM's Watson, created in concert with Sloan-Kettering, does as well as live doctors in recommending cancer treatments

Social scientists will continue to be ostriches regarding the real progress that's being made in understanding the biological basis of intelligence, impulsivity, etc.

3-D manufacturing will continue to progress but remain largely in the research-and-development phase or used in creating prototypes. Five years from now, we should start to see significant inventory replaced by just-in-time manufacturing, including how consumers buy items such as clothing. Already, Adidas is selling a 3-D-manufactured custom-ordered shoe.

The absurdly priced, academician-based, inaccurately named “four-year” colleges (40% don't graduate even if given six years) will increasingly lose market share to community colleges as career-training institutions of choice, and not just for weak or low-income students. Community colleges would be wise, however, to be in the vanguard of creating more effective online courses: truly immersive, simulation-centric ones, taught by the world's best instructors, not just who's on the local college's faculty. Also taking profit-share will be career-related online courses, for example, those on and nanodegree programs at

Except perhaps if you have a designer-label degree (Harvard, Stanford, etc.,) soft skills won't be enough. Science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) plus soft skills will be ever-more required to obtain middle-income employment.

Worries about the Trump administration may be overly pessimistic. Government's checks and balances plus unprecedented pressure from the media and colleges should move even Trump to more circumspection and moderation.

Notwithstanding Trump’s views, white men will continue to be viewed by government, colleges, and media as Haves to be taken from to redistribute to women and especially to minorities.

Amazon will continue to startle the world with its growth, and not just in sales or its stock price. Its headcount is now 268,000, up 47% in just one year. Amazon now has twice as many employees as Apple.

Older people, including those in their 60s and even 70s, will continue to try to land well-paying jobs because they can't afford to retire. Alas, they will have a hard time.

With the increasing paucity of well-paying jobs, politicians will take a closer look at providing a taxpayer-paid guaranteed basic income.

The best self-help career advice will continue to be:

  • Rather than dabble, get expert at something that's in-demand.
  • Take the time to build deep, mutually beneficial relationships with important people with whom your personality is compatible.
  • Make ethics Priority One, even if it yields fewer dollars.

The 2nd edition of The Best of Marty Nemko is just out. Reach career and personal coach Marty Nemko at

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