Because it literally pays to know what direction the job market is heading.

We can expect new employment opportunities and workplace changes for 2016. For newly minted graduates or those looking for a change of pace in the new year, it literally pays to know what direction the job market is heading. Here’s your 2016 jobs forecast.

At five percent, the unemployment rate is down to its lowest level since 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a trend which has been holding steady for over three months now. Putting the Great Recession in the rearview mirror, the job market is now taking in over 200,000 new hires per month. Even better, a recent survey by Michigan State University projected a 15 percent increase in hiring of new graduates across all degree programs including associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate and professional degrees.

The Good, The Bad and the Retired

The immediate benefits of these numbers are pretty straightforward. While never an easy task, job hunting isn’t going to be nearly as desperate a task for graduating millennials, as we’ve finally made it through the economic slump of the Great Recession.

Unfortunately, not all findings are on the rosy side of things. While we’ve all been pleased by declining prices at the pump, the oil-and-gas industry, along with much of the energy industry, is cutting back on post-graduate hires and sending some energy workers back to business school. According to an article from The Wall Street Journal, profits in the energy industry are expected to drop by 20 to 30 percent in 2016. A study from AlixPartners consulting firm validated this claim, pointing out that more than 200,000 jobs were cut from the industry in the past 18 months. Even as we’re making new jobs in other markets, the fallout from the energy industry could have major consequences down the line.

Of the 76 million people born between 1946 and 1964, known as the Baby Boomer generation, most of them are now reaching or nearing retirement age. By next year, we can expect more than 3.6 million boomers to leave the workplace, according to Forbes.

The result? Even as many millennials are making their first forays into the job market to kick off 2016, some will actually begin taking up management positions left vacant by our generational predecessors. Forbes also reported that by this year we can expect one in four millennial workers to be taking the managerial positions left vacant by the retirees.

As the largest generation represented in the U.S. Labor Force, we expect to see a transition in leadership philosophies for many jobs. Older generations were known for autocratic leadership and a very hierarchical office, but millennials are perhaps best associated with the laid-back atmosphere of a startup. This year might begin a trend towards more horizontal management and office relationships.

Say Hello to Generation Z

Although millennials have been the babies of most company offices for the last couple of years, we may not be the youngest people at work for much longer. Generation Z, born between 1994 and 2010, will also be entering the workplace.

It’s unlikely that the first wave of Gen Z workers is going to be much different from the millennials at this stage, but more and more workplaces will have millennials operating as the senior members for perhaps the first time.

Our Take

Overall, 2016 is looking very optimistic for a lot of people looking for new employment or switching jobs. If 2015 was one of the first years of strong growth and economic recovery out of the recession, 2016 will likely steer towards new workplace dynamics and even more post-recession success. Good luck on the job hunt!


Photo courtesy of Shutterstock


Posted 01.19.2016 - 04:45 pm EST