The Emerging Economy
by Phil Hanson
The golden age of lifetime employment with the same company followed by a comfortable retirement is over.
For many people, that age ended more than a quarter century ago. Since then, many more people have come to realize that today’s economy is not the same economy that our parents knew.
Maybe you are one of them. Maybe, after graduating in the top half of your class, you came out of college with high expectations of getting an entry-level position with a Fortune 500 company, of being promoted from within to rise to mid-level management or, perhaps, even to senior management level, and then retiring with a gold watch and a nice pension after a lifetime of loyal servitude.
Instead, you may have found that you went to the “wrong” college, or that educational requirements for the position you were seeking had been upgraded, or that competition for available positions was overwhelming.
If you were lucky enough to be hired you may have found that, after a few short years, your job had been eliminated and the company had no further need of your services.
It isn’t just the college-educated who are feeling a ripple effect of employment instability caused by an economy in flux.
People in all areas of commerce, regardless of their educational achievements, practical experience or acquired skills, are being hammered relentlessly by radical economic shifts.
Oddly enough, this doesn’t seem to apply to those at the top levels of the corporate hierarchy, especially CEOs, who are, for the most part, doing better, not worse.
According to BusinessWeek, in 2003 the average CEO was paid (to say they “earned” it is a bit of a stretch) $155,796 weekly compared to $517 weekly take home pay for the average worker – a ratio of 301-to-one. The pay ratio of CEOs to workers was 42-to-one in 1982.
The good news is that small businesses lead the way in terms of new job creation.
While startups often engage creative people with innovative ideas, their downside is that about 80% of them fail within their first five years, usually because of inadequate funding or inexperienced management.
It’s no surprise that growth of private-sector service businesses now outpaces that of businesses in other sectors of the economy.
Of particular interest to fledgling entrepreneurs are home-based businesses, largely because of lower startup costs, convenience, tax benefits, flexible hours of operation, and other amenities.
Despite having a few drawbacks (under some circumstances), a home base can provide the perfect venue for neophyte entrepreneurs to get the experience they need to build a successful business.
Self-employment is on the rise and, for many people, it’s showing the way to financial security and independence.
Phil Hanson is a Web page writer and editor, and an Internet entrepreneur.