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Basecamp situation sign of bigger shift in social/digital labor market

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You may have heard about the big Basecamp news last week. CEO, Jason Fried, publicly announced some big changes at the tech company that didn’t go over so well with employees–or the general public.

Chief among them: He wanted to keep politics and issues that are plaguing our society right now far away from work. The message seemed to be “keep your politics at home, where they belong.”

That didn’t sit well with employees (or the internet, which unsurprisingly lit up Basecamp’s leadership team the last week). And, employees took swift action. By some accounts, up to one-third of the company opted out. Many, like Adam below, quit without another job immediately lined up.

Now, many (or, maybe all) of those employees who opted out are leaving because of the CEO’s message and stance. And, I don’t really want to get into that today. But, I also think this situation is representative of a bigger shift in our industry (comms, social media, digital), too.

Employees now have more power than their employers.

Specifically: There’s a pretty noticeable talent shortage out there–specifically in the social and digital world.

Quick disclaimer: I’m not a recruiter, but I talk to a lot of people about jobs in any given week, and I try to play connector with people and jobs, and one thing I keep hearing over and over again recently is this: It’s really hard to find good social and digital folks.

This is why employees, like the ones at Basecamp, feel empowered to leave a job, while they have absolutely nothing lined up.

They know they’ll find something.

They know the market is strong in many areas right now.

They know they are in demand.

Meanwhile, senior leadership at many companies appears to be acting like they still have control.

For example, some senior leaders want all employees back at work five days a week. Of course, we know most employees don’t want to do that. What will happen? My bet: Employees will opt out and look for an employer who will offer them 3 days a week at home and 2 in the office–because those companies exist and are thriving (think: General Mills, Target locally).

The shift is on. Companies no longer have the power. And the smart ones are realizing this.

In 2021, employees hold most of the cards. And, they’re going to play those full houses for a LOT of leverage in the year ahead. Because they can. And, quite frankly, why shouldn’t they? It’s not like most companies have exactly been loyal to employees. I mean, remember all those furloughs last year?

2021 might mark the beginning of a huge trend in our industry: Employees now have all the power in the labor market.

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Basecamp situation sign of bigger shift in social/digital labor market

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