The New World of Work



By Distinguished Professor Robert M. Donnelly


Every working person on the globe is starting to ask the same question: “how secure is my job?” In an era when you can be replaced by an email or phone call, it is becoming more and more of a legitimate concern.


The internet has changed the way people communicate and work. The Smart Phone has become an appendage of us, camera ready and always with us. Thus allowing for instant access to whatever we need and eliminating the need for us to physically “shop” for almost anything.


The digitalisation of business continues unabated changing organisational structures and the need for full time employees. A new on-demand economy is emerging creating ubiquitous gig work managed by more and more sophisticated algorithms.


The company as we have known it is morphing into a virtual entity. No longer are the physical resources of a company needed when a new team of virtual gig workers can be assembled on an online platform, execute a task, and just as easily disappear.


Independent entrepreneurs can now function as a multinational entity, sourcing and selling globally through digital platforms. They can design, fund, launch, and sell products anywhere in the world.


Every working person on the globe is starting to ask the same question: “how secure is my job?” In an era when you can be replaced by an e-mail or phone call, it is becoming more and more of a legitimate concern.


If you combine this with advances in robotics where robots are being taught to accomplish even the simplest of physical tasks like folding clothes, it is obvious that the world of work is changing dramatically. As advances in machine learning accelerate, robots are building mental maps so that their tasks are becoming more and more efficient. Given that over 70 percent of jobs are in the service sector, robots will have a significant impact as they replace more and more repetitive functions currently done by full time employees.


All of these advances in technology are creating an on-demand flexible economy. This “uberfication” of markets managed by algorithms will generate more profit for companies by reducing costs, but potentially more volatile income for workers. As this new flexible economy continues to grow we will have migrant “techies” moving from one online opportunity to another.

Another important fact is that most people rely on traditional employment as their main source of income, but that is not where the flexible economy is growing. In the last decade 94 percent of new jobs have been generated outside of traditional employment. It’s a fact that it is harder than ever to find a traditional job that generates enough income to live comfortably and provides benefits.


Peter Drucker, the now famous management guru, profoundly stated about management of a company: “the maintenance of a growing concern is more important than the individual rights of shareholders, workers, creditors, and in the last analysis, even of customers”. So cutting costs through the application of technology is verifying his conclusion.


All of this certainly is motivation for anyone working in a traditional job to start to think seriously about developing their personal brand so that they can market themselves more effectively in the new world of work.


Robert M. Donnelly, a Distinguished Professor at Rushmore, is an author, educator, and brand builder. His book: Personal Brand Building for Life. is available on Amazon.

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