The future of work is going to be different – but maybe not in the way you expect.
The classic utopian vision of a workforce of 20 somethings sipping lattes while creating high value knowledge work on their Mac airbooks is the stuff of Hollywood and aspiration. The reality is more challenging and more interesting…
New data released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has been recently highlighted by Josh Bersin in Forbes. The overall news is good for the US, with 3.1 million jobs created since January 2011 even though unemployment remains high at 7.8 percent.
The bureau breaks down this data in some detail. And in his regular conversations with the industry, Josh pulls out several themes, three of which are related.
First Josh notes that businesses are talent restrained once again. Second, the contingent workforce is growing (40 percent plus of all positions are now contingent). And finally, employee engagement continues to wane.
For business this represents a substantial challenge but also an opportunity.
A talent restrained workforce can meet some skills needs in the short term with contingent hires. And while demand for professional and technical skills remains hot at the moment, there are signs that this trend could become permanent. The most obvious indication is falling employee engagement.
The longer term position for organizations may not be to fight this new trend but to accept that highly sought after individuals may never be permanent employees. Instead organizations can use this to their advantage and reduce overhead.
The trick is to ensure predictability, loyalty and continued development of contingent staff. Increasingly in the future, we can expect organizations’ talent optimization programs to reach not only the extended enterprise of supply chains and sales and marketing channels but also the contingent workforce. Talent programs will need to identify current and potential contingent employees and ensure that in a tight, talent market the organization becomes the employer of choice and that individuals’ skills are developed in line with the organization’s needs.
The future of employee training is likely to be very different from today. Talent development will be used to promote organizational attractiveness and generate loyalty as well as creating a more flexible, skilled workforce.
Infor VP & GM Learning Technologies