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Fearless Predictions (And What to Do About Them)

Four fearless predictions about the future of work—and what to do about them.

  1. No Benefits, Better Jobs
    Most companies will stop offering significant benefits packages because they won't be able to afford them. That means less security, but it also means talented people won't be as tethered to one place for fear of losing health insurance. As health care becomes portable, because we're paying for it ourselves or because the government steps in, people will shed their golden handcuffs and find the jobs that suit them best.
  2. Blue Collar Gets Sexy
    Blue-collar work will provide some of the most stable and lucrative jobs in the economy. If your plumbing's clogged, someone's got to be here, not in Bangalore, to fix it. As local search technology improves and online scheduling goes mainstream, consumers will be able to better find, compare, and schedule trade services, so their opinion of these workers will only rise. Those 15 jobs over your career? One of them may be air-conditioning repair.
  3. Everything Global Is Local
    Gone are the days when Americans with no language skills or overseas experience could claim the cushy expat gigs. As developing nations' economies strengthen and grow over time, they'll force U.S.-based companies to compete or lose. That means cracking down on excessive salaries and perks for execs on overseas assignments and more demand for people who have language and travel experience—or those who have cultivated global networks of their own, which can be worked from the comfort of the good ol' U.S. of A.
  4. One-Stop Shopping Will Come to Job Hunting
    With job-matching and meta-search sites on the rise, do-everything career portals will not only help you find a new job but also help you figure out how well that gig will mesh with your current life. One early try is, where job postings are accompanied by buttons that, with a click, reveal competitive salary information and links to networking sites so you can figure out who you already know at the company. Coming soon are Google Maps links to illustrate commute times. We imagine that benefits breakdowns and calendars that compare your personal life with a company's schedules can't be far behind.

A version of this article appeared in the March 2006 issue of Fast Company magazine.