What Do Future Jobs Look Like?

July 24, 2013 Katharina Lochner

The Workplace of the Future

Our world is changing at an incredible speed. Many things we still use today are already outdated tomorrow. What about the classical job model: work in an office every weekday from nine till five? And what about the classical recruiting process: advertise a job, test applicants, employ one of them? These models might be outdated tomorrow as well. But then, what could employment look like tomorrow?

In a TED Talk, Wingham Rowan, Project Director of the online job market Slivers-of-Time, outlines what a future job market could look like.

There are already a few online services that allow workers and employers to be flexible, such as TaskRabbit or Slivers-of-Time. At TaskRabbit, TaskPosters outsource tasks that they would like to have done by others and TaskRabbits use their time and abilities to complete these tasks. These can be grocery shopping or furniture assembly, but also more complex tasks like developing IT code and the like.

At Slivers-of-Time, employers can indicate for what kind of job, where and when they need someone and then the system suggests workers that are available. Employers can get more information on the workers’ profiles and book those who are interesting for them. The worker selected is notified and only has to confirm the assignment. The job can also be seen as a work sample, so in case the employer is looking for someone to employ permanently, there is a pool of employees who have already worked for them that they can select from.

But Wingham Rowan would like to take this one step further and establish a system that works like the one that is being used at the stock market. He calls it “Modern Markets for All”. This system will of course advertise jobs and allow for finding the matching candidates for the job. But there will also be statistics on supply and demand and pricing, on job requirements, most profitable options, and so on, which will help workers decide where they want to become active. Of course, also policy makers, i.e. government, will have to be involved to make sure mechanisms like proving one’s identity and licensure etc. are granted. He calls the idea “atomised capitalism”: there are small trades by small people, but very informed, safe, convenient, low overhead and immediate. He concludes with the words “Do not underestimate the transformative power of truly modern markets”.

On the TED website, Kate Torgovnick posted, along with the one mentioned here, a number of TED Talks with various other ideas on future job markets that are very worthwhile checking out: 7 talks with big ideas for hiring.

About the Author

Katharina Lochner

Dr Katharina Lochner is the former research director for the cut-e Group which was acquired by Aon in 2017. Katharina is now a researcher and lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Europe in Iserlohn, Germany. In her role at cut-e, she applied the research in organizational and work psychology to real-world assessment practice. She has a strong expertise in the construction and evaluation of online psychometric tools.

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