The World of Work is Changing

Posted by Oxford Global Resources on Aug 20, 2018 8:45:00 AM

A young person entering the workforce is on a different journey now. A great career has become a collection of rewarding projects and experiences, rather than a climb up a ladder to a leadership position. Networks of empowered teams are replacing traditional hierarchies. Leadership is increasingly developed early, by co-leadership and collaboration, rather than years of top-down mentoring and training. As digital tools become ever more capable, the challenge to make the best use of them overwhelms many organizations. And the rate of change shows no sign of slowing. Here are some ways the world of work is changing today:

1. By 2020, 43% of the American workforce will be freelance.

The Gig Economy is growing significantly.2 This is driven by both employers and workers – by employers who prefer variable costs and who benefit from the flexibility to bring in specialized expertise for particular projects, and by workers who feel confined by and have little interest in the full-time employment model and 9-to-5 lifestyle that provided security to their parents.

2. Every single company now needs a workforce that is skilled in IT, digital systems building and UX.  

Even if there is nothing digital about your company’s product, you are using digital technologies to design and produce it, communicate about it, or collaborate internally on it. To keep up with the complexity and speed of the digital world, companies need to focus on technological advancements and tool-sets to run their business. A mix of full-time staff and contractors with specific expertise to fill skill gaps is the most effective way for many companies to build and manage this infrastructure.

3. Knowledge workers increasingly value diversity of experience and quality of life over security and having a career “track.” 

Highly skilled professionals, knowing they are in demand, increasingly require both flexibility in their work schedule and quality interactions during projects. Consulting and contingent staffing models allow employers to utilize these valuable people on terms that serve everyone’s needs, whether on-site or remote, with employers paying for a specific capability only when they need it.

4. New consulting models are emerging in which the client and the consulting firm collaborate - on formation of the team, development of the SOW, and project management. 

Traditional consulting firms must employ the staff consultants that are available from their bench, which can limit the quality of response. A partner that has the connection to the talent you seek, and thus can help you fill a single skills gap on your team or build a completely custom bench of experts that meet each specific area needed to get the job done, offers flexibility against changing customer demand and with minimal fixed costs. Companies wanting to quickly get a competitive edge are reaching out for individual consultants such as business analysts, project managers, software developers, quality engineers, and report writers, along with partners for full project services such as IT Strategy, Migration Services, IT and CyberSecurity, Training Programs, and Workforce Management. This model allows organizations to work with best-in-class, in-demand talent, with wide flexibility against changing demands or project scope. 

5. Work and life in balance 

To fully engage the workforce that will be in place in the coming years requires a deep understanding of the employee journey. From an initial contract job, to a full-time opportunity, then back to consulting work, the modern worker’s career journey is going to be varied and unique. With high-quality employment experiences as a guiding principle,  a firm that is focused on developing lasting relationships will strive to understand these various career goals and have the ability to offer new and varying opportunities for growth while meeting their clients’ need for skilled workers on a scalable basis.

The world of world of work is rapidly changing and more and more companies are seeing the benefits of project-based services to help meet business and consumer demands.

Times are changing.  Oxford Global Resources is here to help.

[1] NASDAQ: The Gig Economy, June 14, 2017 
[2] The number was just 33% in 2014: Lauren Weber, One in Three U.S. Workers is a Freelancer, Wall Street Journal, September 4, 2014
Additional sources: 
Rewriting the Rules for the Digital Age, 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital TrendsDeloitte University Press
Digital Disruption and the Staffing Industry, July 23, 2017, by John Nurthen, Executive Director of Global Research, Staffing Industry Analysts
The 2016 Field Nation Freelancer Study: The changing face of the new blended workforce, by Field Nation,

Topics: Staffing Resources, Project Services

About the Blog

The Oxford Blog provides insights on the world of work, with a focus on issues related to staffing, professional services, careers, and key industry trends. 

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