by Saul Kaplan
It seems fitting during Labor Day week to reflect on the future of work. Today’s concept of work, employment, and jobs are an outgrowth of an industrial era that is long gone. The industrial era is not coming back and it is time to rethink the basic concept of work. Despite what politicians say most of the jobs lost in the current downturn aren’t coming back. Work takes on new meaning in the 21st century and it is time to change our conversation. The real wake-up call of this downturn is the enormous skill’s gap between the requirements of a 21st century economy and the skills and experience of the current workforce. Waving our hands and political rhetoric will not close the gap. Our education and workforce development systems must be transformed. Now. The nature of work and the way we think about jobs must change dramatically. Labor Day seems like a good day to start.
Here are 20 random thoughts on the future of work. Please feel free to add yours in the comments:
- Work becomes more about meaning and impact than repeatable tasks.
9 to 5 is so yesterday. Global sourcing goes on steroids enabling third world opportunity and growth. Free Agent Nation becomes a reality. Projects are more important than jobs. Teams assemble and reassemble based on the job to be done. Changing nature of work transforms our daily commute and transportation systems. Industrial era organizations give way to purposeful networks. Everything we think and know about professions will change. Education is no longer K-16 but a life long commitment. Workforce and economic development are transformed and become indistinguishable. Work becomes more self organized and less institutionally driven. Job titles are more about what you can do than meaningless status monikers. Compensation is about performance outcomes not seniority. Entrepreneurship becomes democratized and the key economic driver. Work and social become indistinguishable. Getting better faster is imperative. Art and design become integral to work and value creation. Making things becomes important and interesting again. Passion drives meaningful work.