In an HBR’s article, Michael Schrage analyses one of the biggest changes that the labour market has lived in the last years: an increasing number of temporary jobs. Only in the USA, temporary and part-time jobs have increased by 50% since the financial crisis began.

A new way of working

A structural change in the way companies and workers relate is taking place. ‘Actual restructuring of the markets makes temporary and part-time jobs more attractive to organisations’. They don’t need full-time workers anymore; they look for profiles that help them reach objectives in a shorter period of time.

The way they take advantage of knowledge and abilities within the company it’s changed. They have more flexibility and select personnel with specific skills that help them reach established goals. ‘For most organisations, people are the mean to an end’ and that’s why they don’t hire employees but value generation.

Technology makes it possible

Technology makes temporary and part-time labour markets more efficient and effective. This type of working relations is based on temporary collaborations and projects that make working relations faster, cheaper and easier. Technology not only makes automatization and innovation easier, it makes it possible to review, redesign and manage jobs on a comfortable and dynamic way. Internal and external workers can collaborate the same way as if their offices were next to each other.

Not everything is an advantage

Schrage points out an irony that takes place in this labour context: ‘maximizing the value of part-time jobs has become a full-time job’. Getting temporary employees to be engaged in the organisation is no easy task. The same way employees don’t work full-time, they also don’t have full-time commitment.

Self-employment can have very positive effects if workers are prone to adapt, invest in themselves and learn. But the problem comes when companies must invest in the training of workers who don’t fully involve with the organisation. In addition to that, this new model can bring insecurity to professionals.

Future prospects

Despite these inconvenient, Michael Schrage believes in this new way of understanding jobs. The relation company-worker as we knew it is becoming obsolete and the new model is characterised by flexibility and mobility. Being self-employed or freelance is the future of the labour market. The ones who are able to simultaneously work on many projects and to efficiently manage their time will be the ones who have the key to success.

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Image: Flazingo Photos

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