The world of work is in a massive transition where advances in technology, increasing connectivity and shifts in priorities are combining to alter traditional business and create a revolution in the workplace. It is referred to as the ‘gig’ economy and is made up of a growing number of workers abandoning traditional 9 to 5 employment in favour of working independently on a task-by-task basis for various employers. A large number of people already work like this – and if you have ever bought or sold something on eBay, used and Uber, or a site such as Airtasker – you are part of this economy too. This new economy is full of entrepreneurs and it offers boundless opportunities.
The economic forces are shaping a world of work where traditional entry-level jobs will disappear to automation. Digital platforms will enable us to work more remotely, including form your smartphone, and we will earn an income through a portfolio of work (of ‘gigs) rather than a single job.
For job seekers creators and job seekers alike, this means that the physical environment of work is changing, with less people (and businesses for that matter) operating in a traditional office. Instead, many more people will be self-employed or engaged as freelancers by individual employers.
The New Basics
The shifts in the nature of work will be accompanied by changes in what employers are looking for from employees. FYA’s The New Basics report analysed 4.2 million job advertisements from 2012-2015 which revealed that employers are already demanding (not to mention willing to pay more for) enterprise skills from prospective employees as much as technical skills.
Critical Thinking Skills
Enterprise skills are the transferable skills that can be used for a number of different job. Technical skills like Engineering, Architecture and Accounting are still important, but enterprise skills include the social and critical thinking skills that you need to work effectively with people and some of the hard skills that will be vital for the future of work, like digital literacy.
In five years’ time, over 50% of jobs will require significant digital skills – our future workers will need to know not only how to operate a smartphone, but also how to build one as well as how to effectively navigate an increasingly digital economy.
The evolving world of work presents significant challenges, but also great opportunities.
So how will this affect your business?
To capitalise on the opportunities generated by the new work order, equipping your business with a robust purpose, strong networks, and having the operational capabilities will be vital in putting an idea into action.
In an increasingly connected world, it is not enough for a business venture to have individual purpose or importance. For an idea to get off the ground it needs to be supported, its purpose shared and understood by others. A robust analysis to determine what constitutes ‘valuable means and ends’ for your endeavour and strong skills to advocate those ideas to others is crucial to setting up a successful venture. This idea must be robust enough to continuously evolve and stay relevant to social and cultural shifts – otherwise you risk becoming obsolete.
The importance of strong networks to ensure these ideas have influence should not be underestimated. The source of information individuals, organisations and businesses use to make decisions, networks are well documented as a key factor that makes or breaks developing enterprises. The global context in which businesses now operate also makes connections abroad important – fostering international connections with regions of economic importance such as Asia will be key. Fostering these connections has never been easier with advances in technology bringing boardrooms to our living rooms.
Strong Operational Skills
Beyond good networks, strong operational skills are one of three main barriers to success reported by young entrepreneurs. For any venture to succeed training in how to run a business, how government works, how to work in partnership with others and how to effectively pitch an idea, will be necessary. Hands-on experience as well as finding mentors with the appropriate experience can help drive this – as well as development opportunities such as incubator programs for business like the Department of Industry’s Entrepreneurs Programme.
The New Work Order and the rise of the ‘gig’ economy brings with it new ways of working which mean flexibility and empowerment for the up and coming business ventures – be prepared to take a few risks and innovate. Your potential is unlimited.