Who Sets Your Market Value?

It used to be that the competition for terrific jobs was fairly well defined: other professionals in cities across the country. The more international your job, the higher your compensation was likely to be, as fewer and fewer people were capable of handling the complexity of those assignments.


Well, times have changed.


The trend started as most do: an insignificant trickle of manufacturing coming from the Far East. Pioneers found opportunities to change their markets by moving significant portions of their product line to factories in Japan and Taiwan. As these factories learned to serve sophisticated markets, more and more business moved east. Many of us worried about the loss of our manufacturing base, but never felt personally threatened by the trend.


The game changed as technology made it possible to communicate cheaply and instantly around the world. Soon, non-manufacturing jobs started to move overseas. Programming, secretarial, and call center jobs led the movement. Still, we saw the trend, but most of us didn’t feel too threatened. Our high-level, high-knowledge, and high-paying jobs could never move.


Times have changed.


More jobs are at risk than ever before. A Princeton study suggested that 22%-29% of US jobs could be exported. Harvard Business School revisited the study (http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6012.html) and the number actually increased to 21%-42% of jobs that could be moved offshore. The game has changed and it affects all of us.


Market value is no longer set by people in Pittsburgh, New York, or even London. Our competition is in places like Tianjin, Bangalore, or Thailand. More and more these professionals set the market value for typical talent. I don’t want my talent to be priced like a typical journeyman. I suspect you feel the same.


What are we to do?


I believe it’s critical that we each create our own brand – a value proposition that our bosses, clients, customers, and teammates can all depend upon. The same technology that makes it possible to move jobs around the world makes it possible for all of us to learn and create unique value. We all know how to run an on-line search, but it takes a bit of practice to become adept at it. Practice! The interactivity and accessibility of Web 2.0 tools are transforming the on-line world. If you haven’t joined LinkedIn or posted on a blog or learned about Twitter, JUMP IN!! The technology is new and you can get up the curve very quickly. Jump in! Learn! Have fun!


It takes time and effort to create unique value and your own brand…but it’s worth it!




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