So were almost into the fourth quarter of 2010, the recession is still hitting hard and on top of private sector job cuts over the last few years the government has announced it looks set to cut public sector spending by up to 40%, inevitably leading to further job losses. The TUC met today for their annual meeting in Manchester as they prepare all out war against the government if its plans for public spending cuts go ahead. This poses the question therefore, with all the job cuts we are seeing, where does the future of work lie for us as employees and employers in Britain?
We have already seen the restructuring of organisations over the past decade from the tall hierarchy with numerous layers between the director and the shop floor, to the flatter structures reducing middle management and jobs in a bid to cut costs and become more efficient along with the move from manufacturing to public services, and then along comes the internet. A new technology revolution, opening up virtual opportunities for businesses and creating a truly worldwide platform for trading, along with job opportunities which are no longer confined to the country of residence. Surely then the future of work looks set to be virtual with organisations gradually reducing their tangible presence for a more cost effective virtual one.
So what will the workforce of the future look like? We are already seeing record numbers of students bidding for places at University in the belief that a degree will lead to better job opportunities. Only to find just as many students graduating and realising the industry they have studied for is in decline or that for every job they are applying for, another hundred graduates are applying for the same position and they all have one thing in common, a degree. It is therefore no longer enough to be good at a particular job. You need to be an expert or chances are you will be in a position where there is no job security. The work force of the future therefore must inevitably look to be more flexible, taking short term contacts with employers, working more part time and in cases having multiple jobs. Individuals will be responsible for their own personal development and up skilling in a bid to create their own unique selling point. Freelancing will become more predominant with individuals offering their skills for short periods without employers having to commit to lengthy employment contracts. Just as organisations create a portfolio of services or products the worker of the future must therefore look to develop their own portfolio of skills not just dedicated to one particular area, but be flexible so they can react quickly to changes in the virtual organisations of the future.