Environment Forces that can Impact on Your Job Search
One of the lessons we learn quickly in business and marketing is that there are a number of external forces in the macroenvironment of all organizations, including demographic forces, economics forces, natural forces, technological forces, political forces, competitive forces, and social/cultural forces. These forces are continually changing and evolving, bringing new opportunities and threats. We also call these forces uncontrollable since they are out of the control of managers, but this manner of thinking may be a misleading because with the proper amount of environmental scanning and preparation, we may be able to exert some control over these forces — or at least control the impact of these forces. We cannot intelligently plan for the future without researching and understanding the external environment.
These same forces that affect organizations can also apply to you in your job-search, for example:
- Demographic Forces — companies and people are shifting locations, most recently to the West and South, thus more job openings should be available in these locations. What about other factors, such as the aging of the population and the increasingly higher educated society? Will baby boomers take early retirement or work late into their lives — and who will their decision affect your career path? And as the U.S. becomes more diverse, so does the workplace. Are you prepared to deal with supervisors, co-workers, and other employees who are from a different race, ethnicity, or country-of-origin?
- Economic Forces — compensation packages (including both salary and benefits) are increasingly coming under budget scrutiny as companies continue to search for ways to cut the budget. What are the salary and benefits trends in the career path you’ve chosen. What about the boarder economic issues such as inflation, economic health, etc. Are you prepared for the inevitable layoffs resulting from the cyclical pattern of “downsizing,” “rightsizing,” and other human resource actions that result from the desire of executives to optimize the efficiency of their organizations in slowing economies? What impact will the health of the U.S. economy, of the balance of trade, etc., have on your career and job-search plans?
- Natural Forces — we’ve seen a “greening” of Corporate America, but how important are a company’s environmental policies to you and your job-search? What is the environmental focus of this decade? How will the increased costs of energy, waste management, and pollution affect your ability to succeed in your career?
- Technological Forces — probably the most rapidly changing environmental force for all industries. How important is technology in your career choice? Do you have the most current technical skills that employers in your career field are seeking? Do the companies you are targeting have the resources to stay technologically competitive? How can you continually improve your technological skills to both avoid being replaced as well as keep your skills as marketable as possible?
- Political Forces — with the apparent meltdown of corporate ethics and fiscal responsibility, how will new legislation regulating business affect your career choice — and the companies you’ve targeted? Will there now again be a trend toward an increased emphasis on ethics and social responsibility?
- Competitive Forces — U.S. businesses face increasing competitive pressures, not only from domestic competitors, but from competitors the world over. Organizations are finding it harder to maintain profitability and market share, regardless of the form of the competitive market. Critical issues of quality, positioning, and target marketing grow in importance as companies grapple with this issue. What tools do you have to help your future employer win in this battle? As companies merge, reduce, or declare bankruptcy, how can you better position yourself to not only survive, but prosper? Are you global-market savvy?
- Social/Cultural Forces — probably the broadest category of environmental forces, social and cultural forces deal with perceptions, preferences, values, and accepted behaviors. Like a family or society, every organization has its own culture — its “way of doing things.” What kind of corporate culture are you looking for? How important is it that an employer’s values match yours? What are more important priorities for you — the organization or your family? Does your employer believe in a balance of work and family?
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