In the last 25 years, how we work has changed radically. The mobile phone has probably been responsible for making us all hyper-connected and that, in turn, has made talent boundary-less. The world is now the marketplace for talent.
‘Work’ needs a matchmaking process between the buyer and seller of the skill. There is a discovery process where the buyer must be able to announce what job needs to be done and the skills needed. The seller must find a job that matches the skill. Once the buyer is convinced that the seller can do the work, the price is agreed upon and work begins. If the work does not need a high degree of skills, the person doing the job is not important.
A recent report by the United Nations Population Fund shows almost 30 per cent of India is currently in the 0-14 years age group. The working age group, 15-59 years, accounts for 62.5 per cent of India’s population. The working age population will reach the highest proportion of approximately 65 per cent in 2036.
Given the demographic distribution between States, the power equation between States will shift. Internal migration of labour will grow in the future. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat and West Bengal will have elderly populations while Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand will have younger populations to offer.
The Economist estimates that the Bangladesh-to-India migration corridor is the largest in the world. Technology is fast automating blue-collar jobs. For the 12 million young people who enter the workforce in India every year, more skills will be needed. Since 2005, there is already a growing trend of young people leaving the workforce to build additional qualifications. With an additional academic degree, they expect a significantly more challenging job.
In the next 25 years, Artificial Intelligence and robotics will become invisible – like electricity is today. All jobs will be tech jobs. Technology will remove any job that is rule-based and repetitive. The jobs that will get created will need different skills and education and continuous reskilling. We will need to create 12 million jobs every year to absorb the working population of the country. Employers will look for 3Cs – creativity, collaboration and communication - when they hire.
Employers, where are they?
Unpredictability of demand, changing business models and the pressure to continuously lower costs means that the lifetime employment and looking for a “stable job” will no longer be aspirational end goals. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Apple and Alphabet alone are worth more than the entire FTSE100 put together. Last year, the telecom sector alone saw upwards of 75,000 job losses.
As formal employment opportunities drop, each worker will come to the talent marketplace with a set of skills, much like the blue-collared workforce does today. Technology will make this marketplace boundaryless. There will be buyers of skills needed for jobs to be done. The rising number of gig-workers are an early version of this talent marketplace. Technology has made it easy for buyers and sellers to discover each other. We now need to solve the trust issue. How can the buyer trust the skill provider’s competence and predict the quality of the service?
Eventually gig workers will also be graded along the skill continuum. Gig workers with niche skills and expertise will command a premium and operate outside organisations. They will work with competing firms. The next 25 years will surely belong to the experts.
As the world became more connected, it was easier for buyers and sellers of skills to get connected to each other. LinkedIn became the first talent marketplace because people found they could get more opportunities through this marketplace than waiting for internal job postings with their employers. What LinkedIn has not solved for is how to screen fake resumes and glowing endorsements written by friends. Career 1.0 happened as people discovered the freedom to switch employers. Even though we call this job hopping, in reality this should be called ‘employer hopping’.
Career 2.0 is all about people pursuing multiple career paths that go beyond their education and experience. A CEO leaving a corporate career to pursue stand-up comedy. Or a medical doctor or an MBA pursuing a full-time career as a singer in a rock band. This is what the term ‘job hopping’ - or more appropriately ‘career hopping’ - is all about.
Career 3.0 will be about the bulk of the workforce becoming gig workers and operating outside the payroll of an employer. This workforce will come to the marketplace with multiple skills and offer it to multiple buyers and paid at different rates depending on the level of proficiency. This model will allow people to bring in all their skills, education and hobbies to the marketplace and monetise it.
Career is our journey through life. Career 3.0 will allow people to discover themselves and be happy. The future of work may be something to look forward to after all.
The author is a talent management expert, a leadership coach andan author.