In my new book on the modern art of negotiating for Random House, “The Yes Book”, I describe a number of social and economic factors which have caused the landscape for negotiating to change. It is now more important than ever to be an effective deal-maker. In the book I promise to keep this blog up dated with new stats on each of these trends, so that readers can see that this is an on-going phenomenon. The imperative to negotiate effectively is only going to intensify.

One reason for this is increasing competition in the global economy. This effects large corporates, small companies and individuals. In an era of ever-increasing competition, we need to be better at closing deals – partnerships with others can help us be more competitive, but on our own we are more vulnerable to the effects of competition for markets, pricing and jobs.

Here are some examples of that;

(A) Large Companies

Apple vs Samsung NegotiationThe Mobile smartphone sector is a good example of how dynamic competition can change markets quickly.

According to IDC, from the first quarter of 2011 until the end of the first quarter of 2012, Samsung’s share of the global smartphone business soared from 11.3% to 29.1%, and the Korean manufacturer now leads the market – largely on the back of the successful Galaxy S II and S III phones. Apple with its iPhone grew from 18.3% to 24.2%. Back in the first quarter of 2011, Apple trailed just one company when it came to smartphone shipments. That company was Nokia. The Finnish firm suffered a free-fall as its share of the world-wide smartphone market plunged from 23.8% to 8.2% by the end of Q1 2012.

This trend continued throughout last year. Seemingly from nowhere, Chinese manufacturer Huawei shot up the charts to become the world’s No 3 smartphone vendor in Q4 2012. Samsung held onto its position at the top, having set a new record for the number of smartphones shipped in a single quarter and in a single year. Nokia held on to the number 3 position in the year as a whole, but its share is now down to 6.4% and it has Huawei, HTC and another Chinese manufacturer, ZTE breathing down its neck (more here).

(B) Small Companies

Since the Recession took hold at the end of 2007 more Americans have started businesses (565,000 of them a month in 2010) than at any period in the last decade and a half according to the Kauffman Foundation. By the end of 2011, there were over 1 million more Small and Medium Sized businesses competing for business in the UK than there were 10 years ago, with 15,000 new businesses registered per month in the UK according to

This total has continued to accelerate – the total now stands at 4.8 million – an increase of over 300,000 on the previous year. And these companies are not standing still either – nearly half (48%) of the business owners who set up shop in the last two years are looking to expand their business operations in 2013, according to Aviva’s bi-annual SME Pulse, all of which will intensify competition.

(C) Individuals

Law Graduates Unemployment NegotiationThere may be more and more businesses competing with each other and yet jobs are getting harder to find. There was a time when qualifying as a lawyer gave a passport to good employment prospects and good income expectations for life. Not anymore. Within nine months of graduating, only 55 percent of the class of 2011 US law students had full-time jobs that required a law degree and lasted more than a year, according to data from the American Bar Association, said the Huffington Post (here).

Many aspiring lawyers have struggled to find employment in their chosen fields since the recession, and have often been forced to enter different industries, in some cases even working as dog walkers and bakery owners. The jobs crisis for recent law school graduates has gotten so bad that some are fighting back, even if unsuccessfully. In March, a judge threw out a lawsuit brought by nine recent law school graduates against their law college, claiming the school misrepresented potential employment opportunities. The widening gap between lawyers’ fortunes may be a result of there simply being more of them competing for jobs. The ratio of lawyers in the US has increased to one for every 247 this year, from just one for every 709 in 1950, according to Bloomberg.

How is this relevant to negotiation? These micro examples of growing competition indicate just how important it is to be able to negotiate effectively. Big corporations need to be able to negotiate partnerships and other agreements which can enable them to withstand the fluctuations and rigours of competition. So do small companies. So do individuals, whether they are looking to secure a job, retain a job or set up their own business…