The Disrupted World of Work

As a nation, we have witnessed the Millennial workforce become the driving force in the “New Business Economy,” and Millennials will continue to be drivers of our global business economy for at least 30 more years. The Millennial generation  created an enormous shift— not only in how individuals view their careers—but also in how an individual achieves career objectives. As we settle in with the realities of the “Disrupted World of Work” that the Millennials spawned, we are once again undergoing a significant redefinition of the World of Work and what employment and Employable Talent look like. The up-and-coming iGens are now entering the game, adding a fifth generation to the labor force with new definitions of what “employment” looks like and how to accomplish career objectives.

So, what does the Disrupted World of Work look like as the iGens enter today’s workforce? In a recent a study conducted by Oxford Economics, “83% of executives indicate they’re increasingly using contingent workers.” By 2015, the contingency work group exceeded 15% and is expected to pass 20% by the year 2020. Some analysts expect that number to hit 50% by 2025.

Being driven by rapid technology advances, business models, and life cycles, organizations are looking to free themselves of long-term obligations, such as traditional employee benefits. By doing so, the more flexible an organization can remain, the easier it is to adapt to short-term demands. Lana Gershon, the author of Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Don't Find) Work Today, wrote, “Good jobs used to be ones with a good salary, benefits, location, hours, boss, co-workers, and a clear path toward promotion. Now, a good job is one that prepares you for your next job, almost always with another company.”

While some see this as a problem and others believe it to be a positive shift, I view it as reality. This shift requires a significant change and perspective on employment opportunities and new ways of managing career strategies.

The challenge I see for organizations of today is that the majority of individuals already have the mind-set that a new position is a short-term gig and a conscious plan to quit once they have maximized the usefulness of the opportunity. This reality forces today’s leaders to creatively identity retention strategies that once might have been considered taboo.

As a career-management executive, I embrace this Disrupted World of Work, as it heightens the work Dr. David Miles and I infuse into our coaching by developing Employable Talent. People who believe just “putting in the time” will get an employee ahead are sadly mistaken. Today’s organizations are not hiring applicants based on what they have done in the past but on what they can do for them today, 6 months from now, and for projects that are not even on the books yet. If you are not looking at yourself as a business asset that promotes and adds value—qualities, experiences, and relationships—you are not in sync with today’s fast-paced business environment. Therefore, you will be hard-pressed to be successful in a job search or a new position.

Personally, I could not be more excited about this time in history. Many organizations make the mistake of ignoring generational differences and treating people of different generations the same. These companies lost out on retaining great talent. On the other hand, employment seekers need to adapt, or they will fail to succeed. If you cannot clearly articulate the value you can bring to an individual organization or the market in general, why would an employer hire you?



Scott Miles is the Managing Partner and Operations Manager at Miles LeHane Companies.  Scott works with clients, consultants, and client organizations on matters relating to reorganizations, career transition and outplacement. Follow Scott on Twitter @scott_miles

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