The Forbes article In the Future, Nobody Will Have Jobs summarizes the growing view that traditional jobs are going the way of the dinosaurs, replaced by an array of contract workers and automation.
Regular readers know we believe the number of independent workers (freelancers, temps, etc.) is going to continue to grow.
We also agree that the number of businesses that choose to use independent workers over traditional employees is also going to increase.
But we think traditional employment will continue to be common for at least the next couple of decades.
Our reasons are:
1. Talent is becoming increasingly key to business success, and firms will continue to want to secure talent in the core areas of their businesses.
2. Scale of some form is still a key competitive factor in most industries, which is why the Global Giants continue to grow. These firms need the talent scale traditional employment provides.
3. Most people prefer traditional employment to contingent work. This is changing, but for many traditional employment will continue to be more attractive.
4. For people with the right talents and skills, the rewards of traditional employment are increasing. Companies are recognizing that their star performers add enormous value and are increasingly recognizing this with lavish pay, stock packages, bonuses and perks.
The current talent and compensation wars in Silicon Valley are an example of a trend we expect will spread to other industries. Simply put, the big compensation packages being offered in Silicon Valley make employment pretty attractive.
A couple of related indicators of this are:
- Firms like Elance, oDesk and MBO Partners - leaders in providing independent workers - have decent numbers of traditional employees. While they all eat their own dog food and are active users of independent talent, they still see the value in having traditional employees.
- Hollywood is often cited as the employment model of the future because of their high use of contingent labor. Again, Hollywood firms also have a lot of traditional employees.
Don't get us wrong. We think the contingent workforce will continue to grow and over the next decade about 50% of the private workforce in the U.S. will be comprised of independent workers.
Our longer term view (say 20-30 years from now)is somewhere between half and two-thirds of workers will be contingent with the rest having employment relationships that would be considered traditional by today's standards.
So our view is the traditional job will continue to lose share relative to contingent jobs, but won't disappear.