Current Employment Trends and Their Implications for Business, Society, and Individuals
Changing Nature of Work and the Trends in Employment
The world of work is changing. Part Time and Freelance employment has grown whereas stable and secure jobs that last an employees lifetime in one organization are scarce. If the Baby Boomers were expected to work all their lives in at most two or three jobs, the Gen Xers accelerated that with more frequent job hops.
Where the present generation entering the workforce, the Millennials, are concerned, studies show that there is a drastic shift in the way the very nature of employment has changed. If the Gen Xers were not aware of freelancing when they started their careers in the 1990s, the same cannot be said about Millennials for whom the Gig Economy is as natural as the full time, secure, and stable employment of yore.
Indeed, Freelancing and Gig Work is so accepted now that virtually no one is surprised if somebody says that they are an Uber driver or a Freelance Consultant who works from home. Thus, it is the fact that employment patterns and the very nature of work has changed dramatically when compared to even a decade or two earlier.
The Race to the Bottom and Business Leaders Encouraging Gig Work
These employment patterns have implications for all stakeholders, whether they are business leaders, governmental policymakers, societal actors, and more importantly, individuals like you who can be students or working professionals.
To start with, it is the case that business leaders are promoting contractual and freelance jobs as a solution to the deteriorating profitability in the midst of tough economic conditions. While this was true a decade earlier when the Global Economic Crisis was sweeping the world, the same cannot be said now where the economy does seem to be in good health.
This has led to some Left Leaning Economists to state that business leaders want to save costs and hoard capital for themselves and their shareholders that have prompted them to come up with part time jobs as a solution.
Indeed, the fact that businesses do not have to pay for health insurance or social security in addition to maternity benefits and paid leave means that some of these suspicions seem to be true.
Whether you are on the left or right side of the debate, the fact remains that businesses do have to account for Gig Work by tweaking their Human Resource and Operational Strategies to accommodate the growing tribes of part time workers.
Bankrupt Governments and the Looming Social Security and Healthcare Crisis
As for governmental and societal stakeholders, policymakers have to reorient the entire safety net by which they protect workers from the adverse economic conditions. When there are no obligations for paying social security and pensioner benefits to workers, the government is left with the unenviable task of accounting for these benefits on its own.
This is especially hard when the future social security and healthcare obligations are so enormous and humungous that the government might be bankrupt trying to meet those means that we are approaching a crisis as far as these aspects are concerned.
In addition, the societal stakeholders such as community organizations and activists have to plan for increased job insecurity or the rise of the so-called Precariat whose work and lives are transient and depend on day to day events as far as sheer survivability is concerned.
This has implications for the way in which housing, immigration, public utilities, and urban system planning have to be worked out to prevent societal chaos and social unrest. Thus, it is a tough ask for these stakeholders as well who now to account for maintaining the systems that sustain us without breakdowns.
Implications for You, Whether an Aspiring or a Working Professional
As for individuals such as you who might be an aspiring or working professional, you need to draw lessons from the implications discussed so far and plan your future accordingly. If you are just starting out, it makes sense for you to invest early without spending too much so that you are ready for downturns. For those of you who are already working, you must realize that the Gig Economy can be harnessed by even those who have a decade or two of experience.
Indeed, whether you are ready or not, the shifting nature of employment means that you would be impacted, directly or indirectly. Some experts suggest that you need to leverage your experience and networks in case you have to deal with job losses.
Others advise that those who are starting out should postpone major life decisions such as Marriage so that they are financially stable before they commit themselves. Perhaps the most important implication is that you are not guaranteed a pension or lifelong health insurance and hence, this is something that you need to plan for as well.
Thus, without sounding dire, what we suggest is that it is better to be safe than sorry and hence, be cautious and conservative in managing your finances.
Lastly, while all this seems gloomy, it is the reality that all stakeholders have to face as the race to the bottom in which the market economic players are engaged in means that unless you are prepared, you would be left behind.
In addition, you must work the system to your advantage by thorough preparation and diligence which means that sooner or later, you would find yourself on a safe footing. The implication is clear and that is that you cannot expect the government or other stakeholders to come to your rescue and hence, you better build a parachute for yourself.
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Authorship/Referencing - About the Author(s)
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