Many employers force employees to sign non-compete agreements before they start work in order to protect them and their intellectual property. A non-compete is a legal agreement where you agree not to enter into or start a similar profession or trade in competition against your employer. This agreement has been around since before I was born but it’s no longer relevant to the economy we live in. Some of these agreements only last for a year and others last for the entire duration of employment! In today’s economy, these agreements shouldn’t exist and even be illegal.
We are living in a time period now where employment doesn’t last for life and where employees quit full-time jobs to start businesses. In fact, almost all executives I’ve spoken with have agreed that if you stay with one company for life, you gain less experience and are actually less employable. One executive said that he would rather hire someone who has had three different jobs instead of a single job at one company. Executives would also rather hire an entrepreneur over a traditional employee.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American has nearly eleven jobs between the ages of 18 and 34. The average millennial, ages 19 to 30, has a tenure of two years at their first company. That increases to five for Gen X and seven for Boomers. Since employers can expect employees to constantly be shifting jobs and companies, why should they have the right to force them into different industries and professionals through a non-compete? They shouldn’t! This is especially true since salaries have decreased and the unemployment rate stands at 7.8%. How are employees supposed to maintain a decent standard of living if they are so strapped down? They can’t.
I see non-compete’s fading out, not because employers wants them to but because when the job market returns, employees will more likely work for companies that don’t have such agreements. If two opportunities are the same, wouldn’t you select the one that gives you more flexibility?
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