As our technology changes, so does our workforce. Today it pays for management to be observant, nimble, and quick. And it matters little whether or not you welcome or accept these trends. And workers might take heed in how to prepare. The question becomes how might you capitalize upon them?
Temps are more prevalent. Since the recession, businesses have been reluctant to hire back full-time permanent employees. They don’t want to saddle themselves with heavy fixed costs and prefer the flexibility that a temporary worker allows. As a result, the temporary status portion of the workforce has generated more jobs and many believe that this will become more a permanent fixture. The paternalistic idea of “lifetime employment” has shifted to the individual’s need to be “lifetime employable.”
The so-called millennials will compose the largest segment of the work population and reshape workplace attitudes. These are the 90 million Americans born between 1980 and 2000. While they expect their work to be an important part of their life, most will no longer see it defining them. They will seek meaning in their jobs and will be less patient in “paying their dues.” They have no amazement for today’s technology, but take them for granted as nothing special as that is all they have known.
The labor market is now global. As the world continues to shrink, there is less concern for geographically convenient work forces. Now jobs will likely be moved around the world to match a company’s core competency with the best suited work force.
Virtual employees will evolve. More than 40% of all organizations offer some sort of flex time, job sharing, telecommuting, or alternative work schedules. Working at home via new technologies replaces the social bonds and close span of controls so prevalent in the past century. This translates into a more alienated worker for whom their work is less a place to be and more a state of mind.
Despite American unemployment at high levels, there is a growing shortage of skilled workers. This will continue to be of increasing concern over the next 20-30 years.