Work is becoming more flexible, and global digitalization is taking over the labor market. In the throes of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, people are now accepting the reality that no job is protected from drastic transformation and possible elimination. So, talent must continuously plot their own path, following their unique passions and living their life by design. Along the way, we must learn the skills, wisdom, and experiences that resonate; build a body of work, and position ourselves for success.
The Great Recession circa 2008 destroyed security in the talent and job markets. Before then, people were able to hold on to a position and career path for as long as 30 years or more until they ultimately retired. Fast forward to today, and heads spin as nature and the future of work rapidly evolves, expands, and contracts. It’s not realistic to totally keep up with all the changes. Still, without awareness of significant change markers, we can’t make informed decisions about how best to lead ourselves forward, which runs the risk of talent prematurely phasing out of the labor market. Jobs today are also changing; it is safe to say the positions of the next decade will not be the same ones occupied by most people today.
We are tracking the emergence of unfamiliar trajectories in the talent and job market that contribute to our understanding of the future of work in society, and thus the implications on our lives:
• Fractional and ephemeral employment is replacing a world that was once characterized by full and permanent employment.
• Knowledge and talent-based services are increasing while manual, task-based labor declines.
• The importance of partnerships and networks continues to rise along with a decrease in bureaucracies and hierarchies.
• A career is no longer contained to a single organization, industry or sector but distinguished by a variety of transferable experiences that build expertise.
• Many people who were once relevant in their workplaces have been made redundant due to digitalization. Technology, including codes, bots, robots and other forms of synthetic labor and value creation have taken over tasks people used to do.
• Beyond years of schooling and employment, the need to continue to build talent over time and reinvent your position in the market is a significant key to success while following your North Star.
• Rigid roles of identity such as gender, age and race give room for freer expression, greater appreciation and recognition of diversity in the market.
• More companies favor hiring contractors, external workers and part-time workers over keeping full-timers on the dole.
• Democratization of communications technology will empower business to happen virtually. Talent can work on their own schedules as more enterprises large and small go remote, allowing for unlimited work-from-anywhere lifestyle opportunities.
• On the rise are ethical standards, as industries and institutions face societal pressure to enforce zero-tolerance policies regarding abuse of power and the root causes of systemic inequities.
When we consider the above-identified emerging workforces as a composite, paradigms begin to morph. No longer will work be organized how it has been. Indeed, a changing future of work raises some of the most important questions humankind gets to address. With an ultimate reduction in the number of good, secure jobs available, how might people earn their living? What use will people make of their available time? How will things such as success, wealth and happiness be quantified? On what structures will our very existence be patterned?
Once we grab life by the reins and commit to going beyond circumstances, we get to endeavor into the exciting aspects which these emerging work patterns make possible, providing new opportunities and dreams to fulfill.