Changing Job Profiles Spawn Transient Workforce


The regular 9 to 5 job and a continuous 30-35 year career in a single organisation are becoming rare and will soon be part of organisational folklore. We are on the cusp of an on-demand job economy which is debating how to improve the efficiency of hiring by looking for options of short-term hires. We are increasingly seeing downsizing as an annual corporate exercise, even in companies which are doing well. From a large organisation’s point of view, it is an HR manager’s nightmare – a continuously moving and transient workforce. Based on this ‘change opera’, we see some important themes emerging in the workplace of tomorrow.

The 11-60 Principle

A recent research says that youngsters, who started their careers post 2006, are likely to change eleven jobs by the time they retire at 60! That is a whopping number, you may think. But the numbers for the Western world are more bizarre, with countries having an average job-change figure of 24!  Which means, on an average, many employees will work in an organisation for less than 18 months?

Multiple Sector and Domain Jumps

Today, the brightest engineers are not working in engineering streams, science graduates are modelling the vicissitudes of stocks and bonds and literature graduates are the bean counters at a bank branch. The youth are not afraid of taking a complete break from their specialised branches and picking up choices that really interest them, which could be as varied as running eateries, monetising their arts interests and travelling.

Disappearing Work–life Divide

Work-life balance has been a prominent and important discussion topic of the last two decades and, whether we reached anywhere or not, it definitely drew the interest of the print and television media. However, the concept no longer fascinates anyone much. We have increased the tools of connectivity so much that we never really remain cut off from our office.

The Arrival of ‘Freelance’ is Official!

A recent article in the Economist titled ‘Future of Work’ tries to slice and dice this emerging phenomenon, which is altering business models across the world. It says ‘…Freelance workers available at a moment’s notice will reshape the nature of companies and the structure of careers…’

Freelance is more about the individual resources who have skills, which you require temporarily and with no strings attached. The new opportunities which have emerged through connectivity and mobile apps have made several companies to go for such assignments.

So what does all this mean to the youngster who joins a job in this decade? For the youngsters starting their careers, there is a new world order emerging and, one will end up a loser if he or she does not pay attention to some of the following tenets.

  •   Career planning is not the responsibility of the HR manager in the firm you are working in. It is your, and only your, core responsibility!
  •   Constantly monitor the skills you are adding to your armour. Your value depends on the skills you acquire and upgrade.
  •   Build relationships wherever you work. Careers are like a merry-go-round. You may come across the same people again and again!
  •   Look at yourself as a corporation delivering services!

Whichever way the future pans out, whatever the industry drums up, business will see less of ‘loyal employees’ and more of ‘self-reliant corporate citizens.’ 

(The author is Director-Markets, Kerala & Tamil Nadu, EY and President, TiE Kerala)