In the last few years, multiple changes have appeared in our lives, starting with the technological impact, the political changes, but also economical and cultural modifications. Of course, like in any interlinked system, the labor market as well has rapidly evolved and jobs, as we used to know them, are changing day by day, generating new career opportunities, new challenges, but also a new set of necessary abilities for integrating in a modern labor market.
One of the most important aspects that appeared in this industry is the fact that people, mostly Baby Boomers and Millennials, are now changing their workplace faster than previous generations. According to a study conducted by BLS, young people born between 1990 and 2000 keep their current workplace for maximum 2 years. Furthermore, their life priority is strictly professional, surpassing education, health or house ownership aspects.
Thus, the Millennial generation is the one that has largely determined another change in companies’ workflow, namely integrating a flexible working style. A flexible schedule and workplace are two of the most important aspects that assure a high level of satisfaction among employees. As a catalant.com study shows, more than 90% of the companies that have implemented a flexible structure have seen increases in both interaction and motivation of their staff.
However, what happens with those who are not able to adjust to a classic job or are not satisfied by the flexibility offered? The majority aspires to an independent work style, while 1 out of 3 Americans is today a freelancer. The same study shows that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be represented by freelancers.
This comes across with another trend that influences the jobs market, namely the impact that the technology’s evolution has on the workforce. Amazon, eBay or Etsy were the pioneers of a system entirely based on technology, while Uber and AirBnB represent the new wave of punctual professional possibilities, also known as casual work. This concept of temporary, part-time or project-based jobs is another trend that is rapidly extending worldwide. Only in the USA, according to a Government report, 40% of the workforce registered in 2015 is represented by temporary employees. Their number has increased by 10% in just one year.
Besides the importance of all these new changes that have occurred in a classic organization, as well as in the entire society, we must not overlook the personal impact. Questions such as why do we work, which is the perfect balance between personal and professional life and how do we get to adapt to the new requests on the market appear more often among candidates. On the other hand, the same aspects also have an impact on the current employees, which leads to creating a feeling of overwhelm and also reduce the attention to tasks. Moreover, recent studies show that, in USA, the medium annual vacation period has decreased from 20.3 days to 16.2, while the productivity level has not seen any significant increases since 2011.
Another aspect that has known a slower evolution is the career path. If in the past we were accustomed with the classic model – „learn – work – retire”, we now learn, work and try to enjoy any free time, hoping that this process will continue as long as it can.
All these elements prove that the classic job is rapidly changing and the entire work force heads towards an atypical model, especially for those born in the ’80s-’90s – people are hired for a determined period, they solve a project, lead a team and then are ready to go on to the next level, to another company where they can have a fast, but strong impact.
However, this is not equal with the complete disappearance of jobs. Even though Oxford’s studies estimate that 47% of the jobs will disappear in the next 20 years, this is not a fact to be afraid of, because every eliminated job means creating two new positions. „Guilty” for this evolution is, of course, technology. For example, the invention of ATMs led to a significant increase in the number of bank branches – 4 times more, as well as in the number of tellers – by 10%. Excel, on the other hand, influenced the appearance of more jobs for financial analysts. That being said, jobs do not disappear, they just change and the replacement of human work force with robots is still very far. In South Korea, for example, in factories, they use 500 robots / 10.000 workers and HR and tech specialists warn that a full automation could be possible only in a highly educated community which can adapt to the new market requests.
Even though robots simplify the work model and can sometimes be more performing that a human, these are well suited in just a few industries, since their programming is still limited.
In conclusion, even if HR specialists have concealed all these elements under the concept „Future Work”, the truth is that the future is already here and all the above changes are already a reality including on the Romanian market. Jobs are not disappearing, they are just changing, and together with them come new needs and abilities on the labor market, such as the ability to work in multicultural environments, the capacity to handle tools generated by new media, but also the virtual collaboration – the ability to be productive even as a member of a virtual team.