Devotion to a company is no longer in vogue – promoting oneself is the new trend

For years, iconic business districts like London’s Canary Wharf or Manhattan’s Financial District were characterized by employees donning fleece vests adorned with their company logos. Beyond just reflecting a more relaxed corporate dress code, these vests were symbols of pride in one’s employer.

However, this overt loyalty to companies appears to be diminishing. In a transformed work landscape driven by evolving technology and shifting worker priorities, experts suggest that people are no longer primarily identifying with their companies when discussing their careers.

Instead, individuals are emphasizing their personal achievements over their corporate affiliations.

Tim Oldman, Founder and CEO of Leesman, an employee workplace experience measurement firm, has observed this trend while recruiting for his own company. He notes that this is frequently seen on platforms like LinkedIn, where professionals are now opting to highlight their names and skills in their profile titles, relegating their current employers further down the page. This contrasts starkly with the conventional approach of leading with job titles and company names.

This shift from promoting workplace identity to showcasing personal accomplishments aligns with the current environment. Recruiters are focusing on specific skill sets in their searches and outreach efforts, notes Dana Minbaeva, a human resource management professor at King’s College London. This shift is partially attributed to the broader move toward a skills-based economy.

Minbaeva remarks, “We’re operating in an environment in which an individual’s skills and competencies are considered their most valuable assets.” In this labor market, the most valuable workers possess the ability to adapt their personal expertise to emerging technologies such as generative AI.

Aaron Taylor, head of school for human resource management at Arden University, UK, believes that increased globalization and rapidly advancing technology are driving the transformation towards a skills-based job market. He states, “Skillsets that are in demand are rapidly changing and employees want to keep them up to date for personal, professional, or financial reasons.”

In essence, employees are gaining value based on their skills rather than their pedigrees. As recruiters reach out, these individuals are well aware of their newfound worth.

The Evolution of Loyalty

As competencies outweigh the prestige of firms in the current job market, employee loyalty is undergoing a transformation. Instead of staying with a prestigious corporation for its reputation, experts suggest that workers are becoming more inclined to switch between companies to seek opportunities that nurture and develop their skills.

This shift in loyalty has led to employees distancing themselves from once-strong allegiances to a single company. According to Minbaeva, this can be attributed in part to employees evaluating and challenging the entrenched values and culture of their workplaces and leaders.

Younger workers, in particular, are actively scrutinizing whether a company’s actions align with their personal beliefs, sustainability agenda, and promises to stakeholders. They are now willing to leave a company that falls short of their ideals.

The pandemic has also spurred a desire for more autonomy in the workplace. Taylor explains that people want greater control over their work-life balance and are less focused on staying loyal to a job. Instead, they prioritize finding a job that aligns with their needs and preferences.

Moreover, as physical office presence decreases, employees might feel less connected to their jobs. Oldman suggests that those who attend physical offices benefit less from brand loyalty and the camaraderie fostered by in-person interactions with colleagues.

When the physical connection with the office becomes fleeting, employees are less tied to the company and more willing to change jobs.

Ultimately, experts believe that the decline in traditional employer loyalty is enabling workers to prioritize their skills. In the future, employees are expected to increasingly prioritize their work and abilities over the name of the company. As job hopping becomes more common and the skill-based economy expands, Taylor anticipates that individuals will continue to highlight their talents to advance their careers and earning potential.