A look ahead at 2017.

Year after year (since 1993) I’ve been in the unique position of hearing first-hand from hundreds of career-minded Coloradoans what’s going on with the local economy and its employers. Based on that, these are my predictions for the world of work in NoCo for 2017:

–          Businesses will continue to increase their efforts to improve employees’ working experiences. We live in a boom city in a boom state–very lucky we are! But that translates to a tight market for experienced candidates. Employers who are motivated to keep rock-star workers will continue to raise the bar on how they care for them. As an example, my husband’s company has shifted to an open vacation policy: team members can take leave whenever they want, provided they stay on top of their responsibilities. And forward-thinking employers including the City of Fort Collins and Colorado State University are investing time and resources to help employees plan their career futures, including helping workers grow within their roles or shift to different positions where their skills and interests may be a better fit.

–          Professionals will continue to seesaw between income and passion. Once our basics are covered—shelter, food, necessities—many of us begin to analyze how we’re spending our time: should we trade that great-paying position for one that’s more meaningful? But once we’ve experienced a raised standard of living, the pain of ratcheting down can ultimately overshadow the drive to do work that aligns with our loftier values. We’ll continue to weave between better paying and higher passion positions in 2017 and beyond.

–          Workers will keep improving their career marketing skills. More and more, I hear professionals say things like, “My coworker just got recruited to a great position, and they found her on LinkedIn. I want that to happen for me, too.” Social networks have leveled the playing field for candidates who want to be found.

And finally, opportunities will abound for those who decide to pursue them. Position postings for Fort Collins are plentiful. Those who want to jump in to the job market, or move around within it, have options. Happy New Year!