where to work
This is less about geography and more about timing, networks and the nature of the institutions. First, let’s consider geography. Ever since Richard Florida wrote about creative cities, the value of buzzy places with diverse populations and great lifestyles has been re-written. Luckily, Sydney and Melbourne make it on to the list but Brisbane and Adelaide aren’t far behind.
Urban planners also stress that within cities there are eco-systems of people and activities that create networks and opportunities. Most cities are developing areas known as design valleys, IT alleys and banking districts and being in those areas might land the next contract or the next job.
Age is also a major consideration for deciding where to work. In the decade post-education, many take the opportunity to have a portfolio of work, international stints and, increasingly, entrepreneurial ventures. Experts point out that most start-ups are run by people in their 30s but it makes more sense for those in their twenties, when responsibilities are less.
Between the ages of 30 and 50 years, many will look for steady jobs with bigger institutions. For both mothers and fathers, working for a large organisation with family leave and flexible shifts is imperative when children are young. By the time, you’ve reached 50, steady work is less imperative so small business, start-ups and portfolio work becomes possible again.
Getting the right fit between you and your employer is front of mind for many. Recruiters nominate three characteristics that people look for when applying for a job – reputation, career tracks and work/life balance – and while management books are full of advice on aligning values, it’s social media that will tell you how a company really performs.
When trying on an employer for fit, there are a few crucial questions to ask – is it a diverse workplace in gender, age and ethnicity; how transparent are the processes, particularly with wages and promotions; how sustainable are the operations and how much flexibility and autonomy does the group offer?
A few other things to keep in mind – is it a growth industry or not; does it have international offices; is there a professional development program and, even, how likely is it to be takeover target? Don’t be too impressed by Friday afternoon neck massages.