Back in 2020, many Black professionals felt like they didn’t have much say in their careers. We were reacting to the uncertainty of the world — understandably so — awaiting guidance from companies, accepting less than stellar pay and putting our professional passions on hold to prioritize stability. It’s been a grind, it’s okay to feel it and you’re not alone.

Fast forward to 2024, Black professionals are ready to take back their power over their careers. LinkedIn research found that just over 40% of us feel that we’re underpaid, and despite the most competitive job market in recent years, Black professionals are thinking about changing jobs. In fact, in 2024, Black professionals are THE MOST LIKELY group to consider a job move (90%).

Conventional wisdom has always told us to work twice as hard if you want to survive — particularly in tough economic times. We’ve been conditioned to attempt to out-sweat everyone else — just to survive, and it has led to Black professionals assuming more responsibilities (27%), working longer hours (22%), and experiencing reductions in flexible working hours (21%). 

2024 will require us to turn that notion upside down. It’s not about out-sweating; it will require us to outsmart the process, and be more strategic about how we land opportunities. New jobs and opportunities won’t just fall into our laps; they never have. We’re now seeing a tightened job market with just one job opening for every two applicants, which is a reversal of the abundant job opportunities in late 2021 and 2022 (where there were two jobs open for every one applicant). 

But here’s the good news: In 2024, we have agency, we want more than just jobs. Like Beyoncé said, it’s a Renaissance — a new era where it’s not just about stability; it’s about thriving and telling our personal story in the professional world.

How are we doing this? Sixty-two percent of Black professionals are changing their job search strategy to keep up with the changes in the new world of work. It starts by focusing on skills attainment. We’re no longer taking on stretch assignments to show that we can do more work for the same pay. We’re identifying opportunities where we can gain new, in-demand skill sets (67%); taking on personal projects outside of work to develop new skills (68%) and make additional income; highlighting skills instead of degrees when looking for a job (70%); and nearly half (47%) are “shooting their shot,” applying for jobs we think we’re underqualified for. 

Now, about those job opportunities. LinkedIn has just released its “Jobs on the Rise 2024” list — a breakdown of the top 25 jobs/industries that are getting really hot for professionals this year. I’m talking about careers in AI, sustainability, and influencer marketing… and some of these jobs didn’t even exist 20 years ago! So how can you make sure you’re putting yourself in the best position to secure one of these jobs? My top piece of advice is to make sure your skills are meeting the moment — as jobs evolve, the skills needed to do them, well, ALSO evolve. 

That’s where LinkedIn comes in. Every 10 seconds someone gets a job on the platform — and every day — and 80% of the Fortune 100 companies use LinkedIn to find, source, and hire talent. It’s not just a platform; it’s your career’s Alexa. We’re putting dedicated resources, especially when it comes to AI, into tackling your career pain points. To empower you for this year’s increasingly competitive job market, LinkedIn has rolled out:

  • Job Collections Nestled in the Jobs tab, this acts like your personal job matchmaker. It curates a collection spanning categories like clean energy, startups, and fashion. Matching your skills, experience, values, and preferences, it helps you discover tailored jobs you might not have found otherwise.
  • Preferences — This is your tool for finding jobs aligned with your specific needs. Choose your location type (remote, hybrid, on-site) and employment type (full-time, part-time, contract); set your pay preference (U.S. only); and activate Job Alerts for even more spot-on job recommendations sent straight to you as you post.

And to really refine those skills to secure the bag, LinkedIn Learning is your partner in honing the skills required for these evolving roles. Conventional wisdom said you have to work twice as hard, and I’m saying you have to be twice as strategic. Leverage every technology tool to help you identify the industries that are hiring, use your time in-office and at side hustles to grow skills that are in the highest demand, and put your best foot forward for five job applications as opposed to blindly applying to 50. 

Final thought: The pandemic and post-pandemic years may have stolen some time and a few opportunities, but each of us still has a lot of agency over how we manage our careers. It’s time to take back the reins and get what’s yours… Somebody play Dorinda’s “Take It Back”….

We want EVERYTHING!!!!!

Your LinkedIn Career Coach (and work-life hype-man), 

Andrew McCaskill