I’ve observed a very troubling trend that I fear is not being talked about enough.
It is the fact that a decade from now, every corporate role might be Senior-level or above. The bar to obtain entry-level positions is raising because more and more functions that would be done by early career professionals can be done by leveraging technology. If you look at the majority of knowledge worker roles that need to be filled right now, you’ll find tons of Senior, Director, and Principal-level positions. Even those that don’t have “Sr” in the name still require 3–5 years of industry experience to be considered.
I first noticed it in my industry; marketing. The creative output that you would expect from a junior professional can be done using most AI copywriting tools, Canva, and increasingly AI video tools. You don’t need a team of 4 juniors to produce what a Senior can produce using their favorite suite of tools paid for by the company.
Pair that with the diminishing returns we’re starting to see from high-production content. If the cost to create effective creative work is decreasing(which is good), and it’s simultaneously becoming easier to create at scale, this affects entry-level professionals as well as solo/small agencies looking to prove value.
What will happen, when other functions such as customer success, engineering, product design, etc start to have a few Senior and Director level employees who only manage a suite of technology tools, rather than building a team of junior talent whom they can develop?
That junior talent will have to either freelance their way into senior-level experience or leave their industry altogether. But they can’t leave their industries because then we’ll face a more broad pipeline shortage for senior talent, right? Maybe… or maybe by then, the bar will continue to rise until that suite of tech tools is sophisticated enough to produce senior-level results.
And I know that advocates of AI and other tech will say new jobs will replace old jobs. Well, maybe. But in the interim, Company A will not be looking for entry-level prompt engineers or ML professionals. Senior and above will prevail even in the new economy.
You can extrapolate this in 100 different ways, but the main point is that I fear for the future of entry-level talent opportunities. You have another generation of students who may graduate into a world that tells them their experience isn’t enough. So they go back to school, tack on more debt, and hope to compete with technology that is growing and being adopted exponentially.
Other than UBI, what will be the solution to this?
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