The future of work – Part 3/3: The labor market of the future

Table of contents

The future of work

Part 3/3 The labor market of the future

Demographic change.
In the first part of our series The future of work, we described the basics of demographic change in more detail. We remember: In 10 years at the latest, there will be at least 3 million too few employees. For companies that want to be successful, this means a tough battle for talent. This “war for talents” has already begun. Many companies are already reporting that they can no longer recruit trainees and that they are having difficulties filling vacancies. This shortage will become even worse. What does that mean?
Employee market: Companies apply to employees.
The trend for companies to apply to employees will increase significantly. It is the employees who can choose. Companies will (have to) give a lot of thought to how they present themselves positively on the labor market and what means they can use to retain employees. The salary alone will no longer be enough.
For the new generations, the topic of career is no longer as important as it used to be. Live Balance concepts are moving into focus. Things that make work enjoyable – such as good food at work – are becoming important. The canteen becomes a cafeteria. Google in Hamburg has already picked up on this trend: The cafeteria there resembles the restaurant of a modern five-star hotel. Chefs with chef’s hats prepare sophisticated egg dishes on request. There are huge buffets with tropical fruit, freshly squeezed orange juice at all times – and it’s all free of charge. As you can see, companies will come up with a lot of ideas to retain their employees!
Effects on recruiting.
What do these changes mean for recruiting? In the past, the usual approach was: a position becomes vacant, you place an ad with a job description and look for the person who fits the job. This will be completely different in the future: Companies will be in a permanent recruiting process; not just when a position is vacant. You will constantly be on the lookout for good employees with high potential. The search is conducted independently of specific positions that may become vacant at some point. Companies seek contact with potential, good employees and build up networks. The moment a position is to be filled, you already know who you want because you have been in contact with this person for a long time.
Nor will employees only write applications when they are looking for a job. They will permanently present their profile as a digital business card on social networks, for example on Xing or LinkedIn. Your portfolio and CV will be available as a permanent online application. The employee of the future will also be more involved in digital networks. By the time you want to apply, it’s already clear where you’ll be working. The application in the traditional sense will no longer exist. What will no longer exist is the situation of having 200 applicants for one position. Rather, the companies of the future have the task of ensuring that they are attractive to potential employees so that many people want to work for them.
Flexible jobs.
So far there is a job advertisement describing the tasks of the future employee. But in the future, an employee’s tasks will keep changing. There are no longer any fixed tasks, so job descriptions are obsolete. Social skills are a selection criterion for recruitment. Once the employee has joined the company, they are assigned to projects and tasks that suit them. This trend will intensify.
You might be given a task that you have already completed after a month and then receive a completely new task. This is already the case for many companies today. IBM, for example, is organized on a project basis. This means that a project is launched and suitable employees are sought within the company. The competence database helps with this. Employees are asked whether they would like to work on the respective project. This may mean that they work abroad for a few weeks. The respective superiors are also asked whether the employee is available. When the project is over, the employee is offered a new project. Technical skills and soft skills are assessed by colleagues, so that the database is always up to date on the skills acquired and it is easier to assess who fits which project.
Job security is no longer a value.
A permanent position will hardly be attractive in the future, because everyone knows: “If I lose my job here, I’ll get another one very quickly. I can take my pick.” Due to the abundance of alternatives and the feeling of security of being able to return to work at any time, the need for a permanent, fixed position is no longer high. The value of flexibility will increase. Employees are more likely to join a company on a short-term basis and then return to work for another. Instead of joining a company on a permanent basis, employees of the future will tend to organize themselves in networks.
The labor market of the future could be structured as follows: 40 % permanent employees, 20 % self-employed, 40 % project workers.

How companies react:

There is no question: in the not too distant future, supply and demand on the labor market will have reversed. There are two ways in which companies can react to these changes:
The Caring Company
There will be companies that develop into caring companies and look after their employees. These caring companies will do everything in their power to ensure that employees stay on board for as long as possible. This can mean, for example, that they offer insurance not only for employees, but also for their families. The same applies to pensions and other types of provision. Setting up a day nursery and kindergarten is another measure to make the company attractive as an employer. Caring Companies will provide discounts and special rates, such as fuel cards and shopping vouchers. Company cars will not only be available for employees, but also for their partners and children. It is foreseeable that company housing estates will be built again so that employees can live close to their workplace at low cost. These are concepts that retain employees, because you don’t want to miss out on all these benefits.
The Fluid Company
A caring company may be quite expensive, so many companies are looking for alternatives in order to have good employees in the company: Another way is to strengthen networking. Employees are encouraged to work elsewhere and gain new experience. Naturally in the hope that they will return to the company one day – with more skills. Fluid companies are very active in networking, because that’s how you stay in touch with good people, with talent. If a project comes up at some point that suits a person from the network, then you try to recruit this person as an employee for the project. The fluid company no longer has permanent employees, but rather employees working on projects. It stays in contact with people in order to have access when needed.
With this and the other contributions, we are taking part in the blog parade The Future of Work of the Bitcom Knowtech blog.

The future of work – Part 1/3: The trends

The future of work – Part 2/3: How we will work

The future of work – Part 3/3: The labor market of the future

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