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Will your job exist in 20 years?

Posted by: Ian Piper
12/04/2016

We all know that advancing technology is changing the face of the employment landscape all around the world. Technology is quickly removing old business models and transforming and shaping the future of the workplace.

Currently, one of the impacts that technology is having on the workplace is the so-called “gig economy.”

More and more employees are choosing to leave behind a secure job that pays a fixed salary, paid holidays and a pension for a culture of working “gigs”. This has not been an unusual trend for certain professions such as computer programmers and designers, who often take short term assignments instead of a permanent contract. However, it has now become easier and easier for the average worker to become their own boss, work “gigs” or run a side project to supplement their income.

More and more workers are turning away from the big corporations that were created through mass production over the last 2 centuries, and instead are starting to contribute towards creating a market driven by self-employed individuals.

Renting your property through Airbnb, being an Uber driver, selling homemade accessories online – all of these new ways of acquiring an income are creating a shift towards a technological on-demand based economy that relies on a population stocked with smartphones and tablets.

This type of working is empowering individuals however, it creates an uncertainty as there is no guaranteed work, no fixed income and no real distinction between a working life and a personal life. There is also the threat that certain providers using the “gig-economy” will die out naturally anyway due to being replaced by automated services, for example workers in logistic companies like Uber or Amazon will be replaced by robots and drones, removing the need for human workers at all. It would then make sense that in the future, highly skilled workers with a traditionally “stable” job such as solicitors and accountants will actually be the new “gig” workers. Although it is probably safe to assume that jobs which require a high level of creativity or emotional intelligence will be secure in the distant future because of the level of social intelligence required to perform the role, such as welfare workers, teachers, GPs.

So, are you currently supplementing your income with plans to turn self-employed? If yes, the number of people like you is on the increase as the gig economy trend gathers momentum seen by services created by everyday people and fuelled by the app culture, such as Luxe, Laundrapp, deliveroo, Instacart.

This economy is ensuring that self-employed individuals will be a bigger economic and political influence. The Office of National Statistics is showing that self-employment is steadily on the rise at over 4.6 million, suggesting that workers are actually choosing to be self-employed.

But what does this mean for souring and harnessing talent? It is safe to say that employees now need to be more adaptable to fast changing circumstances. They need to be resilient to change as old jobs become redundant and new roles are defined. Expectations from workers about what their job should entail and how they work will change. Stability will be removed as employers begin to choose on-demand contract professionals over the traditional employee. I should imagine that we are not far off from an employment app that replicates dating apps – swipe left or right if you like their credentials for the position.

Still after all of this, bigger questions remain around how this shift will affect employment rights and traditional work place benefits as well as what a “good” job will actually look like in the future.

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