Two Interesting Articles on the Future of Work

Is Your Job and Endangered Species?

Last Thursday, February 17, 2011, the Wall Street Journal featured an op-ed from Andy Kessler’s regrading his new book, Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs.

In the op-ed, Kessler notes that the job growth numbers for December, 2010 of 36,000 is really the result of 4,184,000 employees being hired and 4,162,000 were separated. The result, Kessler suggests, is that technology is eating many jobs. He notes:

“With a heavy regulatory burden, payroll taxes and health-care costs, employing people is very expensive. In January, the Golden Gate Bridge announced that it will have zero toll takers next year: They’ve been replaced by wireless FastTrak payments and license-plate snapshots.”

Kessler says “creators,” people and jobs who drive productivity will be okay. But “severs,” jobs for people who serve the creators, will more and more be replaced by machines, namely computers.

Kessler describes all of this as decades-long trends, and the piece is worth reading and thinking about.

Chris Brogan on the Future of Work

Chris Brogan has a post today on The Future of Work. Two points are worth considering and are much in line with Kessler’s op-ed. Technology is making work much modular, or project-based, and much more mobile.

Brogan points out that “people who define work around the unit of ‘project’ instead of the unit of ‘job’ will definitely have a better chance of succeeding.” We have long recommended that employers think about defining and building a flexible workforce, to help reduce the cost of regulatory burdens that Kessler describes in his op-ed, and to build the right team for the project. (request our Flexible Staffing Model White Paper)

A lot of the work we do is no longer location specific. We can sometimes achieve the outcome from home or from the coffee shop as easily as we can from and office. This is another trend that we believe will have an enormous impact on the future of work and the future of temporary staffing.

Both of these articles are worth reading and considering. Tell us what you think.

Comments

  1. I think both posts are spot on. Just like manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas to the lowest bidder, white collar jobs are headed the same way. Two questions remain:

    1) What does this mean for education? Or how does the U.S. train its new generation of workers? And assuming you had a blueprint, could you do it fast enough to offset all of the offshoring likely to come?

    2) What do the current crop of workers need to do to adjust to the project-base future?

    I know these aren’t question staffing companies ask but, if we don’t have jobs on our shores, will staffing companies go global too?

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