So where will the job market be in 10 years?
The pundits are full of themselves predicting huge employment in bioengineering, "green" power production, mobile health care, enviro-tourism, and all the other "Trend of the Week" stuff which keeps consultants and trendspotters in business and on TV.
It is not that I don't agree with many of their job growth assessments, it's just that they never describe the critical piece - how people will find and get those jobs in the new century.
To begin, you have to understand the Old Way and the New Way.
Old Way - want ads in newspapers, job fairs, employment agencies, college recruiters, and personnel offices.
New Way - Online work auctions, permanent contractors, virtual employees/HR/recruitment, free agents/hired guns, flex people, affiliate workers, personal trademarks, insourcing.
Employees in the future will look more like contractors. They will browse online job contracting sites picking work with one day to multi-year contracts. In some cases, prospects will farm their resume to smart applications which will select applicants.
In most cases however, prospects will have personal web sites with RSS feeds to hiring sites announcing their availability and skill sets.
(Contracting at this magnitude will require a new set of tax rules as more employees will be responsible their own insurance and retirement plans.
(Not to mention the affect this will have on government as traditional employee withholding taxes fall proportionately).
The sheer weight of health care, liability, retirement planning, workers compensation and disability insurance will kill the ability of even the most successful companies to plan and provide for their employees. )
Combine this with flex people and affiliate workers. These people will be sourced work to their home office or in a shared work space electronically. Based upon their skill set, they will be forwarded work such as product descriptions and documentation, web content like articles and advertisements, and other "e-work". Flex and affiliate workers will contract for the work for a bid amount, perform the work by a deadline and then be paid through electronic payments like PayPal.
Personal trademarks will be more exciting. Programmers, artists and creative types will create work which will be available over the internet only for a fixed or negotiated fee. The work will be personally trademarked and depending upon its demand, could be used once or numerous times by the customer.
Now, before the hate mail arrives, there will be exceptions.
- There will still be manufactories producing completed and partial goods.
- There will still be utilities (imagine the controllers working remotely though).
- There will still be service technicians fixing cars, air conditioners, plumbing and other business and residential equipment.
There will still be a host of other jobs filled and worked by people which cannot be completed electronically or remotely.
However, the 1960's office, complete with desks, typing pools, secretaries and managers is dead.
The massive call center with its headsets, supervisors and cubicles is on its way out.
The multi-thousand person office taking calls, completing contracts, making copies, and having meetings in conference rooms will be a thing of the past.
Prepare for a highly mobile and transient workforce which is hard to define, tax, measure or predict.
Scary? Maybe, if you are afraid of change.
Hurry. You only have ten years to get ready.
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