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Job market will be 'catastrophic' with 41% of people laid and off likely not getting their jobs back: Author

Michael Solomon, 10x Management Co-Founder and author of "Game Changer: How To Be 10x In The Talent Economy" joins the On the Move panel to discuss how to identify, and retain talent that will make a difference in the work world of tomorrow.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: Well, we know that the job market in the US is well below where it was pre-coronavirus, but where we have seen some hiring has been within technology. Amazon, for example, saying it's going to hire several tens of thousands of people not just at its warehouses, for example, but also in corporate and technology jobs. Let's talk about what the jobs market of the future is going to look like and how these tech companies are going to build these workforces.

Michael Solomon is joining us now. He is the author of "Game Changer, How to be 10x in the Talent Economy," and he is also the co-founder of 10x Management. He's joining us from New Jersey. So Michael, when you look at what we have seen in technology companies by and large thriving during this time-- but how are they going to build these workforces? I mean, they're looking for a lot of heads. Are they going to find the people who have been put out of work?

MICHAEL SOLOMON: I think that there's a great opportunity now. When we look back at where the job market was six months ago, it was as tight as a drum. Now, all of a sudden, there's been a lot of alleviation to that. And I think that these companies who have always invested heavily in the best talent are seeing this as an opportunity and wanting to jump on it. And part of the reason they're in a position financially to do that is because they've jumped on it every time there was an opportunity. And even when there wasn't an obvious one, they made it a priority to go after hiring what we call 10x-ers, which are really the best of the best. These are people who arguably provide 10 times the value of a non-10x peer.

ADAM SHAPIRO: So describe to us in real terms what a 10x-er looks like.

MICHAEL SOLOMON: Sure. So these are people-- and, you know, our background is having managed talent across music and entertainment, and then we've started managing talent in the technology world. So I'm coming at the 10x-er concept from a number of places. These are people who love problem solving. It's probably their highest value. The harder the problem, the more excited they are to work on it, the less they need to be paid. They love continuous feedback, and they are lifelong learners. So they are constantly in a state of improvement. And that's a big part of the environment that companies need to provide if they want to attract and retain these people.

And the other thing is they've got a really high EQ. It's not-- this is not just-- you know, in using a software engineer, it's not just somebody who can type really quickly and write good code. It's also that they can communicate ideas. They can take that feedback that they're being given by people and integrate it and approach it with curiosity, rather than with fear or defensiveness.

JULIE HYMAN: Michael, doesn't everybody want to hire people like this? I mean, isn't this g-- like, I mean, doesn't everyone think that they're hiring the best people and want to be hiring the best people? So I guess I'm struggling with what's different here.

MICHAEL SOLOMON: I think that the definition of best has really changed, and we have an evolving understanding of what best means and what 10x means. And I think that we used to think the IQ side, the capability, the skill side was all that mattered and if you got somebody who was as good as anybody at what they do, that was enough. And the real change that we're learning is you've got to have the communication skills and the EQ and the temperament to go with that.

We have a thing that we describe in the book called the sabotage instinct or sabotage impulse, which is the idea that there are people-- and we've all run into these people in the course of our careers-- who are defensive, who blame everybody around them, who don't take feedback. And not only are those the opposite of 10x-ers. They can take a whole team down. We all know what it's like when we're sitting around on a team and there's somebody on the team we know who's going to constantly be trying to blame everybody. We're all ducking and covering. That's not a good environment. And you can't have 10x results with people like that on the team.

ADAM SHAPIRO: I'm curious what you think the job market will look like after the pandemic, because we keep talking about terms of digitization and people working from home. And yet, 75%, 76% of the workforce right now, according to the Labor Department, are people who do the kinds of jobs where you have to go somewhere-- the grocery store or, in most cases, teachers in school, but not yet. What's the job market going to look like after this?

MICHAEL SOLOMON: I think the job market is going to be catastrophic. I've thought this long before the pandemic. I'm definitely in the Andrew Yang school of jobs are being displaced by automation and AI. We're seeing it happen across industries. The problem is not jobs going offshore. There just aren't going to be jobs for everybody. And as a society, we need to figure out what we're going to do with people's time, talent, and energy when there's not enough jobs for them, not to speak of how do we keep them out of poverty. And those are real issues. So yes, jobs will come back, but we've already seen numbers, you know, reported by "The New York Times" that 41% of the people laid off are not getting their jobs back. Like, that's telling you a lot.

- Yeah, Michael. Talk to us about also the chasm when it comes to generations. We see this now new class of college students that are in flummox, right? Like there is this uncertainty and deep kind of insecurity, right, when it comes to, to your point, this completely upended job market, but also just the nature and flexibility and adaptability that these folks will have to have. Do you see this as a net positive, you know, as characteristics that will end up benefiting perhaps the Gen Z workforce? Or do you see this as a net negative?

MICHAEL SOLOMON: I think-- and I'm hoping I'm answering the question you asked. I think that Gen Z and Millennials are actually really well suited to deal with what's coming. Because it's no longer going to be I get a job, I stay with that company for decades. That's been long gone. But it's not even going to be I stay with that company for a half a decade. It's much more transient. And you know, if you think about those generations, they're much more loyal to their own desires than they are to a company, to a brand, to a product. And they can make those transitions much more easily.

These are generations who don't own their music. They don't own their cars. They don't own homes. And their commitment to work is very real as it relates to them. Is this advancing my personal mission in life? So from that standpoint, I think that those generations are well prepared. I also think they know that the job market they're entering is a disaster. I don't think they're quite as versed on exactly why, but they're-- you know, they know that this is going in the wrong direction. And there's a lot of fear and with good reason.

JULIE HYMAN: Michael, thanks for joining us. Michael Solomon is 10x Management co-founder. Appreciate it.

MICHAEL SOLOMON: Thanks so much.