The world of work is rapidly evolving and talk of the Future of Work abounds. By current estimates, 16% of the Australian workforce are self-employed freelance workers and by 2020 in the US it is predicted that 50% of people will be freelancers. This global trend looks set to become the new normal, particularly amongst milliennials and newest workplace entrants, Generation Z. There has been a psychological and social shift in terms of how we work, where we work and what we expect from our employers. So, where did this shift begin?
We can trace some of the roots of this socio-cultural shift back to the late nineties and early noughties and the rise of start-ups and technology companies such as Facebook, PayPal, eBay and Google. These organisations changed the goal posts in terms of how people expected large and powerful companies to feel and to behave. With CEOs who ditched suits in favour of grey hoodies and whose wildly successful companies were started out of garages when they were in their early twenties, their rapid growth and wild financial success meant that the DNA of these organisations trickled down into everyday business culture across the world.
Then came the Global Financial Crisis in 2008, a pivotal moment in which the reputations of many institutions viewed as the pillars of our society were destroyed. As a result of the financial crisis, younger generations around the world have had to adapt to less certainty in many aspects of their lives and the broader societies in which they live. As children watched their parents lose their jobs and feted institutions lose large sums of money, upon becoming adults these children have, understandably, been less enticed by the allure of a corporate job path than previous generations.
Young professionals see themselves as unique and personally valuable with their wellbeing and professional contentment being prized as highly as their salary and title. Crafting out their own individual reputations with a wide and varied socio-professional network is a top priority as many sit poised to spring board to their next venture at a moment’s notice.
Striving to attract and retain talent and inspired by the technology industry’s success not just in business but also in attracting the best and brightest young talent, larger and long-established corporations have adopted a new approach to work. Intrapreneurship is the new fad and a more people-centric and opportunity minded culture has become widespread.
There is now also a new generation of kids on the start-up block. Younger companies have popped up to further alter the landscape of modern work. Take the example of WeWork who Transition Hub are delighted to be partnering with as we launch in Australia this October. WeWork emerged to cater to an initial customer base made up of predominantly millennial freelancers and which now encompasses multinationals across the world who WeWork offer a home and office function to.
As WeWork forges ahead with disrupting the spaces in which we work, Silicon Valley is awash with ambitious plans around the era of automation and robotics that offer tantalising profit boosting promises for the Future of Work. However, at the heart of the phenomenon of workplace disruption, amidst the whirling figures and detached data used in favour of automation and robotics is an issue that urgently needs addressing.
As we move into the next phase of change, there seems to have been little preparation for the massive shift in mentality and culture that the humans whose jobs are being disrupted will need to undertake. As more and more people become self-employed, as many positions and companies become extinct, there will be a societal vulnerability that must be considered. The Future of Work’s next phase has a potential human problem right at its core that could affect the psychological and social wellbeing of many people across the world.
For previous generations of professionals who did not grow up with a social and professional network at the click of a button, navigating this new landscape will likely pose a challenge. Those who entered into careers that felt stable and structured and who were on a career path that was largely predetermined by their employers may find this brave new world to be somewhat elusive. Many will be concerned about where to find their place and purpose.
Things are no longer staying still, the new normal is constant change and disruption which offers ripe opportunity, but risks leaving many individuals behind. Many people need to transition from their past professional selves to their future and in order to do that they must be equipped with a new set of skills and a new workplace mentality.
Transition Hub wants to address this social landmine by supporting individuals as they navigate the Future of Work. Over the course of our seven week program participants welcomed into a cohort, to share a full-time personal development week in a WeWork Australia location. They are then supported for six weeks following and beyond. The program is designed to offer a human solution to this human problem by focusing on individuals’ unique and soft skills and how they can find their path to the Future of Work. We will help to navigate you into this next chapter of constant change.