Is it time to leave the career path and get 'Brexit-ready'?

In December last year, I wrote about the redundancy trap and that the career path is no more.

After a huge amount of M&A last year, we started 2018 with a few things hindering the pick up of senior jobs in the industry. First of all we saw companies pulling out from the UK: Drawbridge and Verve withdrew from Europe and Videology filed for bankruptcy. And part of this is because of something we have known will happen for the past two years: GDPR.

Are you GDPR ready?

When writing my last article I thought we would be all ‘GDPR ready’ but far from it. The amount of newsletters, opt-ins, calls and reassurance seeking triggers from companies that want to continue to send me advertising increased by the day. We knew about that two years ago, didn’t we? Not until 25 May would publishers, and with them the adtech vendors, know whether their business would be impacted impacted by GDPR and moreover by how much.

Predictions reach up to 70% impact of loss of opt-in to receive targeted advertising but most people closer to the publishers speak about 20% reduction of opt-in.

So what are our options? Oracle just bought Grapeshot, another exit, to revert back to what was known in the 90s (sorry but that’s how long ago it feels) as contextual advertising. A DMP solution I am consulting with offers a contextual solution for publishers to sell their audiences based on keywords.

Is that the solution or are we to come up with a proper consent mechanism? One that can actually be understood by the consumer?

The human cost of GDPR

In alignment to my last article on the cost of M&A, I wanted to have a look at the human costs of GDPR. Frankly, it has been challenging to find a permanent role in the industry. The job market has been slow for senior roles for a long time, and given there are now more people than ever competing for them, companies are very picky in terms of experience. The more of a generalist you are, the less likely you are picked. GDPR however puts a dampener on top of that as well, as no one invests without knowing the above impact on the industry.

However, the contract market seems booming with “low cost & commitment” consulting, and lots of experience on offer. That means a company can get expertise in-house on a short-term basis while keeping the commitment low. Depending on the changes coming post-GDPR and post-Brexit, they might decide to take contractors on full-time, or they might not. A model that works for both sides I suppose, unless you are eager to be part of a growing company of which there are fewer given the insecurity at the moment.

You can ‘fulfil a job and help a company to achieve a goal’, as I phrased it in the last article.

It’s not all doom and gloom but be Brexit-ready

My advice to avoid the redundancy trap and the endless chasing of recruiters is simple. Get yourself a contract and stay flexible, because after the long winter, the sunny weather and GDPR, there will be Brexit and the ePrivacy regulation. Get Brexit ready, because soon there will be another wave of redundancies and changes in the industry, and lesser investment into the British market: Berlin might be the new London, the new Silicon Valley of Europe.

Even if this article might sound like the end of the world, it isn’t. Be in good spirits, find hidden pockets of demand for your skills that are Brexit safe – as far as we can tell now. But be prepared!

And if you don’t agree with me, do what everyone else does: continue to work as you were. Act as if nothing will change, and neither GDPR nor Brexit will have any impact on our future. Because AI will save us all.

Volker Ballueder is an industry consultant, he tweets @ballueder and you can find him on LinkedIn here

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