Uncategorized · January 13, 2010

Changing Face of Employment

A few years ago, i glanced through a book in MPH Mid Valley on trends of the future. One trend the author forecasted was that individuals would no longer be employed by one company but instead offer their services to many, on a project basis.

In the book it described an individual, sitting at home facing two PC monitors. Each monitor had a separate company bidding for his/her service. The author was, i guess, putting forward the idea that the balance of power between employer and employee would shift towards the individual and away from the corporation in the future.

I did not buy that book nor can i remember the author or name. However, that section on employment stayed with me.

Two months ago i attended a talk organized by SUHAKAM. Amongst the panelist and speakers, there was a representative from the Sabah branch of MTUC (Malaysia Trade Union Congress) presenting their case.

Basically, he was putting forward the argument that employers have the responsibility to take care of their employees regardless of the economic situation. Even in a bad economy, or in a situation of a global meltdown in demand of goods and services, the MTUC reps says, the company should still find ways to redeploy their staff. He was also arguing about the way some employees were terminated and lawsuits being brought against employers. Other things he brought up was the implementation of the minimum wage or the lack thereof and that it should be implemented and raised further.

Having been an employee and being a business owner, i can see both sides. Of course we would like our employer to be compassionate in times of hardship, yet as a business owner, times of hardship are the times we need to reduce our operational costs, and sometimes cutting the payroll is the easiest way to save.

A minimum wage can seem to be a more socialist tool than capitalist. Regardless of how well they work or don’t work, the employee will be paid the minimum at the least.

However, i think, as we head into the future, the only constant that we can be assured of is CHANGE. In this case, for a company to easily adapt to change, it would need flexibility… flexibility of staff, flexibility of strategy…i.e. the ability to drop (terminate) employees that don’t meet their needs in relation to the change, or hire employees with the necessary skills without increasing payroll..either way, a tough proposition.

However, if we look at the recent trends in HR..where some corps are now resorting to offering contract based employment..i.e. sign up for a set period and after that, if all went well, sign another contract…otherwise, no contract renewal which is essentially, you being fired… that perhaps is a glimpse into the future.

In my opinion, in the future, what the author said in his book will come to pass. Individuals will offer their skills to corporations and work on a project or contract basis.

Unions will become things of the past as number of employees dwindle and the number of contract workers increase.

Probably we will see a group of people coming together to offer their services together as a unit…thus increasing group interaction…like social media….

So ultimately, the future worker will need good interpersonal skills to communicate and work with the individuals bidding together,strong managerial skills as the no of individuals may be more than 2 and proper time management, expense tracking and progress reporting will become crucial and be ready to collaborate.

Perhaps some of the ventures where a group of people are hired to just play games so as to get points and money to buy equipment for them to later sell for hard cash online is a precusor of this form of employment…group interaction, one or two supervisors overseeing the big picture…

So if this does become reality, forget the way it used to be..if you are unemployed even better..more opportunities for you to collaborate on more than 1 project…an opportunity for you to work with diverse personalities and experiences as the project requires…

Employers will be happy too as they will pay according to the contract, they will be free to terminate you at the end of the project and they can be rest assured, the best team will be working on their projects…

I say, prepare your children for a very different future where employment is concerned.