Trends in work structure

Trends in work structure are paralleling other changes in our society by shifting from a hierarchical structure where employees work to conditions set by employers to a more peer-to-peer networked environment. One of the results of this shift is the rapid decrease in the number of people working in traditional full-time positions in an employer’s office with benefit packages paid for by the employer. Other scenarios – such as telework, contract work, group sourcing – are gradually replacing our traditional structures.

Given global competitive pressures, these trends are unlikely to reverse. Fortunately, advances in the online environment are offering abundant opportunities for those who choose to embrace new work models. If you are interested in exploring some new models, take a look at what is involved in:

For those interested in work life enhancement, a key new skill is the proactive management of work life transitions (ongoing career management). Researchers tell us that, instead of the old model of lifelong employment with the same employer, the average time in a work position has decreased to 2-4 years and many of us will change work situations at least 15 times. Take a look at some of the other myths that we need to discard:

Myth #1: Success means having a full-time job, working for an employer who pays extensive benefits.

Success means having a living wage (no matter the source) and doing work that you enjoy. Predictions are that, by 2020, less than half of the work force will have traditional full-time jobs. Continuing to hold traditional full-time jobs up as the best goal simply sets a lot of people up for failure.

Myth #2: Before we can succeed at work, we first need to have addressed any “life stabilization” issues.

This myth assumes that individuals who are successful at work have no life stabilization (or personal) issues, which is not the case. Research shows that, on average, over 70% of successful workers are also dealing with some type of life issue (child care, domestic violence, housing, etc.). We are all vulnerable to personal life crises so the key is to be strong enough in soft skills to be able to also handle life challenges.

In addition, addressing issues sequentially takes longer than doing so simultaneously. Research shows that, for the best opportunities, workers need to become employed (or self-employed) within one month of completing education or training; otherwise, they are likely to suffer permanent wage reduction and an increasing unwillingness of potential employers to interview them.

Myth #3: It is important to choose a career that we will make our life.

Many of today’s interesting careers simply didn’t exist 5 or 10 years ago. It is more realistic to begin with an initial life direction and remain open to change.

Myth #4: Success at work means moving steadily upward on a career ladder.

Steady upward movement implies a single career track, which is no longer realistic for many. Often it is important to be willing to start over again at a lower pay level in order to switch one’s occupational focus.

Myth #5: The most important skills for finding work are a solid resume and good interviewing skills.

Because of the rapidly changing work environment, employers say that soft skills are the most important and workers find that, in addition, ongoing career management is a critical skill.