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ASA White Paper: The Future of Work

future of workLast month, the American Staffing Association held their annual conference, Staffing World, in San Diego, CA. This was an extra momentous event for ASA as 2016 marks their 50th anniversary.

One of the keynotes this year was delivered by the World Employment Confederation, an organization that serves as the voice of the employment services industry at a global level. It represents staffing, recruiting and workforce solutions federations and companies from over 50 countries. The Confederation’s keynote focused on the future of work and the role that the employment industry plays and it shared some insights from their new white paper, aptly titled The Future of Work.

Below are some of the findings from the paper’s executive summary. The full white paper can be downloaded here. It discusses in detail the implications and challenges of the future of work, and shares policy recommendations for addressing the challenges.

Structural Shifts
The World Employment Confederation identifies the following as some of the structural shifts that are changing the future of work:

  • Demographics
  • Diversity
  • Technology
  • Globalization
  • New production models
  • Rise of the on-demand economy

Today’s workforce is all about diversity. The 20th century “white male breadwinner” is no longer an accurate term to describe our work landscape. There’s not only diversity in demographics but also diversity in the type of work happening around the world – self-employment, on-call work, project-based work and job sharing. The implication is the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to workforce management doesn’t apply anymore. Employers should recognize this as they establish working conditions and future processes. 

Technology has changed the way the world works – and the way people work and earn an income. Throughout the world, fewer people are working ‘traditional’ schedules at ‘traditional’ jobs. Today, there are more freelancers, more entrepreneurs and more small business owners entering their markets and thriving. What’s the implication? The concept of “working time” is now blurred and needs to be redefined, because more people mix their work with their personal life or are working with people on the opposite side of world in different time zones. Employers must embrace these new working models and the globalization of our current and future workforce.

New Production Models/On-Demand Economy
The rise of our global, on-demand economy means our industrial production processes must also move to an on-demand model. Today, there are short runs of mass-produced

goods and services, and production patterns must be flexible and agile to meet the needs of producers, sellers and consumers. Today’s workers need a skill set that allows them to adapt to diverse and ever-changing work environments, and employers need to make sure this new work dynamic isn’t hindered by rigid, outdated rules.

As we explore the future of work, employers and employment service organizations around the world need to come together to understand and embrace these structural shifts and establish guidelines and policies that take into consideration the new ways of the working world. If you’re a CT employer and want to start that conversation, contact us.