The argument about what the future of work will look like in a decade is alive and well. With technology changing everything we’ve taken for gospel, there’s no shortage of opinions on how people will make a living. Machines are automating tasks, touchscreens are popping up everywhere, and people are making a career out of utilizing applications for income rather than work for a company 9-5.
Some business leaders argue that the end of stable, comfortable jobs is over. While other not-so-pragmatic minds say it’s not the end of those kinds of jobs, but instead, we’re seeing a revolution of how people make a living. The reality of the market is a world away from what our parents experienced: get a full-time job, and it’s there for life. Now, people are juggling multiple passions or clients, depending on the gig.
Back in the day, there was the expectation that a worker and a company were bonded, it was an agreement based on loyalty. You gave the company your best years, and in return, that company kept you for life, and when it was time to retire, they rewarded you with a benefits package that would make for a nice retirement. While pensions still exist in some industries like law enforcement, city jobs, and union, retirement benefits are going the way of the Dodo. Chances are if you ask someone who’s under 25 what a pension is, they probably won’t even know what you’re talking about.
This is only a smaller indication of the larger story: the long-term job will be deader than disco in a very short few years.
There are a few reasons why the market is changing. According to Forbes, the average worker isn’t staying at a company for a decade, and they’re not even making it half of that – they’re making it around 3.5 years. But, why? What’s the reason we’re moving from job to job – the reasons aren’t what you automatically expect like market conditions or the economy or anything like that.
Workers want more
The term “company man” might still exist in Japan, but here in the states, the culture is most definitely changing. There’s a high rate of employee disengagement. The culture of business is changing thanks to tech – many companies are offering more money with better perks and employees everywhere are on notice.
For some companies, employees start out with a positive outlook, but shortly after, they start to feel like their contributions aren’t appreciated, that they don’t matter. They stop engaging and start to look elsewhere.
All it takes to know what a company across town is paying is a quick Google search. Sites like Glassdoor along with LinkedIn make it easy for people to connect, leaving room for people to switch jobs easily. In the past, people didn’t want to rock the boat, to leave a perceived “good job” now, we’ll change jobs based on a leader, someone’s vision, or if they’ve got a good health insurance plan.
The gig economy has changed everything
Thanks to the rise of the gig economy, a lot of folks don’t want to have a boss. They’d rather strike it out on their own. This disruption of how people make a living thanks to Lyft or Instacart, Adia or Bellhops has changed everything. Some people might only work in the gig economy for a little while, till they move onto something else, while for some, they’re excited about the chance to work free from the chains of working in the same environment every day.
For others with a specialized skill, many are becoming full-time freelancers. Between Facebook groups, sites like Elance or even Fivver for smaller projects, a freelancer can make a living on their terms and without having to ask for a day off.
Teams are spread out across the world
Much like being a freelancer, we’re not limited to working only where we live. If you’re a badass developer, someone is going to want you on their team, no matter where you call home. Because there’s more choice, that leads to more freedom to pick what place someone wants to work, but also if they’d rather travel than go into an office every day.
Industries are changing
Because of the rapid-fire growth across many industries, whatever was considered the norm is now in question thanks to technology. Because of streamlined operations, thanks to AI or automation, those tier 1 call center jobs are slowly fading away thanks to internalized systems crafted from AI and machine learning. Some jobs that had been done by human hands forever are now handled via a programmable robot.
Another shade to changing markets is that because of the evolution of how we’re getting things done, that can lead to market turbulence for some unlucky industries. This can lead to people moving to stay within their skill set, but also lead to new companies forming while older ones fade away. A lot of more prominent companies are buying workers out or laying them off – these moves typically hurt worker incentive, and what was once again, considered a “good job” has become a stepping stone to move onto something else. And when people know the ax is swinging, they’re more apt to phone it in because most of their time is spent looking for a new gig.
This works on a different level because when someone leaves and finds a new job and if there’s an opening, people always suggest their friends.
The worker will come first
Like the notion of being a gig worker or freelancer, someone with specialized skills will be sought after because the industry they serve will be contingent on high value and what that person can contribute. It’ll be less about you as a person when hired for the job, but more “what can you do for us?”
Whatever the future holds for full-time and part-time work, it’ll be on the worker’s terms just as much as the employer. This is a marked change from the past. It’ll be interesting to see how everything develops, but also what could be next. The future of work will most definitely be an interesting place.
If you liked this blog, be sure to check out the rest of the Adia blog, we love finding what the next story is in the working world.