The Economist's year end edition is out and with it the annual business trend report. In the business section you'll find Lucy Kellaway's informative article "After the Famine" in which she addresses some major trends taking shape in the business world. She makes several points that are important for we image consultants to understand and use in our work.
Firstly she writes "Women will never have had it so good." She states that "The smart, self assured (but not brash) young females who joined the workforce during the past decade will fit the new corporate mood exactly." She goes on to discuss the trend "they will be promoted, not just out of a craven desire to hit diversity targets, but more as a matter of course." So, how does this trend statement impact our work? We need to target these women who are now moving and rising up the ranks. They will need appearance counsel and advice.
The second trend she points to is the impact of employees social media images stating "Companies will start assessing people according to how well they do on social networks" and she elaborates on just what employees will be looking for - "A huge amount of time and emotional energy will be lavished on endless checking to see how you are faring against your rivals." This brings up another important opportunity for us - counseling clients on their head shots AND their visual branding image to help give them a competitive edge.
Finally she makes an important point about "two old-fashioned things" [that] will make a comeback in offices.
"The first is business clothes. Those who show up to work will be dressed for it." She sites Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook's Founder), (but the quote applies to most of tech-dom) "may cling on to his hoodie in 2014, but most of his employees at Facebook and others who work in Silicon Valley will have tired of coming to work looking as if they've just been doing the gardening." Ms. Kellaway then makes the final statement of her point "Jackets and dresses and proper shoes will be back in."
It is relevant that this is being reported as a significant trend because we have been seeing the upgrade in image and appearance percolating on the streets of San Francisco for the past six months. Men, in particular, have been dressing up and taking better care of their grooming issues.
Hopefully in 2014 the repulsive 'dress down" trend will begin its decline. No-one looks attractive when they look un-cared for.