I HAVE BEEN STRUCK by how the media is now replete with headlines about the U.S. labor market.
As we all understand, American companies remain unable to fill open positions as individuals continue to leave jobs at a rate we could not have predicted only two short years ago. More frequently than in the past, people are switching careers or finding new opportunities in entirely new industries.
Recent polling sheds light on these observations: A recent U.S. Chamber poll found that 32 percent of people who lost their job during the pandemic and remain unemployed seek work in a new industry. Similarly, a Washington Post-Schar School poll recently found similar results, with one-third of workers under the age of 40 considering changing careers or switching industries since the pandemic.
The big takeaway is that entire industries’ talent pools seem strained, compelling businesses to reconsider hiring and retention strategies.
At first blush, one might remark that these statistics have little bearing on direct selling. After all, we are a business model that empowers
independent business owners to engage as much—or as little—as they might choose.
While such a remark about the “why” people are switching is true, what I find most interesting is the “what,” as in what people want from the world of work after 24 months of self-reflection.
According to Deb Broberg, a U.S. Chamber Talent Pipeline Management fellow, the traditional reasons for changing careers—money, better benefits, career growth and more—today play a diminished role among career switchers.
According to Broberg, months of self reflection have led individuals to seek opportunities that make the most of the newly mainstreamed remote work; prioritize one-on-one engagements; and offer environments that require decreased public contact. But most interestingly is that individuals, who now have a better understanding of their passions, want meaningful engagement that aligns with their values.
Some of the world’s most storied and revered brands rely on the direct selling business model. Like millions of others, I believe in our community’s ability to develop the most innovative products across categories. Direct selling is in the enviable position of having our brands represented by the most passionate kind of influencer—our sales forces—for more than 130 years.
Now we all know that most people do not use direct selling as a full-time career opportunity; DSA makes this point to regulators and legislative leaders in Washington D.C. and statehouses across the nation.
What we do provide to those choosing to engage is the freedom and flexibility to pursue their passions and represent the brands and products they love on their own terms.
The channel has experienced so much growth during these past months. As we look ahead, I am eager to learn directly from our CEOs and all executives at our upcoming events about the product innovations that will ignite personal passion and strengthen our brands’ hallmarks.
Let’s share our ideas through the power of Association and work to break even more records in 2022.
From the February 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.