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The trend in telecommuting in 2009 is really the natural continuation of the growing trend over the past several years, and that trend appears to be continuing in 2010.
It is no surprise that the estimates for the number of telecommuting employment opportunities are continuing to rise, year after year. Gartner Dataquest reported in 2008 that 25% of workers telecommuted in 2007, and in their recent 2009 projections, they estimate that number to hit 27.5%.
Companies like Booz Allen Hamilton, eBay, Gartner, Goldman Sachs, Principal Financial Group, S.C. Johnson & Son, Yahoo, and Qualcomm, continue to lead the pack with their flexible work and telecommuting benefits. For some of these companies, flexible work schedules and options are not a new idea, for example, Booz Allen Hamilton has been offering flexible schedules since 2005, and Google’s Quality of life benefits have been a mainstay since its inception.
These companies fully understand the advantages of telework and telecommuting, and that is reflected in the statistics on telecommuting in America as well as in other worldwide locations.
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The Millennials - Generation Y Workers
A new voice in the nearly 14 million 2009 telecommuters (according to the 2009 Gartner report) will be the Millennials, or Generation Y workers. The influence of this new and completely different workforce will bring with it a tsunami of change. These workers are not cube-dwellers, they are an instant gratification, naturally multi-tasking, technology-eating/breathing and consuming force that will join the voices of the older Baby Boomers who are also demanding flexibility in their work opportunities.
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So you want to be part of this growing movement?
One of the hottest movements for 2009 is Going Green. In order to move the country in that direction, an emerging IT movement is making headlines: Green IT.
This movement focuses on adopting and developing technologies intended to save energy, reduce carbon footprints, and concentrates on being beneficial to the planet. Green IT seems to be gaining momentum as companies try to respond to and get in front of the concerns of climate change, dependence on foreign oil, and the upcoming demands and expectations of a new U.S. President.
The technologies that will most likely be a focus in 2009 and beyond seem to be virtualization, cloud computing, increased use of web conferencing and collaborative tools, and telecommuting. In 2009, more companies will be adopting “green" technologies as they seek customer approval and goodwill, a larger share of the consumer wallet, while trying to stay lean and agile in this tightening market.
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Looking for a Green Job?
Try the Federal Government of the United States. President Barack Obama has pledged to expand telework for federal employees. According to letters written to John Gage, National President of the American Federation of Government Employees, Obama is quoted as saying he would, “support efforts to bring paid family leave, flexible work schedules and increased Teleworking to the federal government."
This development further supports recent moves by the federal government to increase the amount of teleworkers and government support for the private sector. Look for local governments and private sector companies to follow suit.
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Hiring Trends in 2009
According to the CEO of CareerBuilder.com, Matt Ferguson, "The job market of 2008 suffered as the U.S. economy weakened and entered into a recession…Looking ahead, recruitment levels are expected to be lower in the new year, but employers are not out of the mix completely; instead they’re taking ‘a wait and see’ approach to hiring." This was regarding the results of the "2009 Job Forecast" survey that were announced on December 30.
As part of this survey, 14% employers, surveyed by CareerBuilder.com, state they plan to increase full-time, permanent employees and 16% plan to decrease in 2009, while most of the rest are taking a wait and see stance.
Here is a very brief list of the findings:
- 60% of employers will increase salaries for existing employees in 2009
- 31% of employers plan to provide more flexible work arrangements in 2009 – Including Telecommuting options (48 percent)
- 13% of employers plan to add "green jobs" in 2009
- 23% of employers say their overall hiring budgets will decrease for 2009
- 28% of employers anticipate hiring freelancers or contractors in 2009.
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This survey, as well as the trends for the coming year, are a bright light in 2009. Even though competition for jobs will be higher and growth is really not a part of the immediate plan, this shows that employers have confidence in the future and are looking to invest in technologies, employees, and programs that will move them forward in the future.
As an experienced telecommuter, you can be part of that future! You are the most agile, green, and versatile type of employee – let your voice be heard!
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