Use Foresight when Choosing an Emerging Industry

November 15, 2013 2 mins read
Use Foresight when Choosing an Emerging Industry

The recent economic downturn has caused many fast-developing industries to nosedive.

Emerging industries that originally seemed limitless in possibility have swapped their talent hunts for sweeping job cuts. With demand for employment far exceeding supply, the prospects for candidates thinking of switching jobs don’t look particularly bright.

I remember two years ago when the solar industry began its talent hunt in earnest, lots of candidates with manufacturing backgrounds, from managers to engineers, began flocking to the promising, high-salary industry. One year later, due to environmental influences, half of the candidates I know who jumped towards the solar industry have beaten hasty retreats and are again looking for work. More than a few of the foreign-funded retail e-commerce companies that surged into the domestic market in the last few years have quietly begun to pull out their investments. When considering these examples, I can’t help but think of the rollercoaster frenzy that is Chinese A-shares.

When the domestic economy is undergoing a structural adjustment, candidates should use discretion when considering joining the rush towards popular emerging markets. In the solar industry, excessive production capacity and European governments’ cessation of subsidies will keep the industry volatile in the short-term. Although e-commerce companies enjoy the support of powerful, behind-the-scenes, investors, the continuing price wars in the short to medium-term constitute a significant threat to their sustainability. Whether candidates are considering then solar industry, e-commerce companies or other emerging markets, they should exercise some healthy foresight. Taking a long-term view, it’s clear that emerging markets constitute the broad direction in which the government wants to steer domestic enterprises—away from low-profit manufacturing. Those interested in participating in emerging industries should share this foresight, make efforts to better understand market conditions, and use this knowledge to surmount any temporary obstacles.

Morgan McKinley