Five years isn’t a long way away, but human-resources experts predict significant changes within the workforce over the next half-decade. A sizable shift is coming as millennials take their seats at businesses large and small,and Baby Boomers simultaneously either retire or modify their work styles to reflect increasingly flexible and mobile opportunities. Given what’s in play, what will the workforce look like in 2019?
The freelancer is on the rise, and if you ask proponents of the “contingent” (freelance) economy, they expect that by 2020 some 40% of the workforce will soon be made up of contract-only employees. “This is in part because millennials don’t want to stay in one job forever, but also in part because companies prefer to try out employees before committing to them,” says Stephen Robert Morse, co-founder of SkillBridge, via email. “These changes will affect the white-collar economy, just as they have already disrupted the blue-collar economy (e.g. Uber).”
A recent Georgetown University study showed that millennials already switch jobs some 6.3 times between ages 18 and 25. Only 1 in 10, according to the report, considers their current job to be part of their career. “In other words, companies are not prepared for the millennial generation’s impatience,” says Pamela Stambaugh, founder and president of Accountability Pays. Throughout the next five years, employers can expect to see talent land, learn, lift off, and then move on with greater frequency than that of their Generation X and Baby Boomer predecessors.
These five factors that employers and employees need to heed in the coming 60 months each deeply relate to one generation aging out of career-building efforts and another phasing into their own. But what can companies do to prepare for these changes? Strategies lie in responding to the cultural and technological elements of the predicted shifts.
Change workplace culture to retain talent longer. “Companies should be motivated to enable millennials to take over their own career paths within their employer’s system since voluntary turnover is very expensive,” says Stambaugh. That means, in part, engaging millennials early on and influencing their decisions to stay on with the organization via job-growth incentives and personal-development opportunities. Allow your employees to become experts. Encourage them to ask for new roles and rotate them into freshly challenging new titles. Of course, it also means succession planning that absorbs some of the impact, if (and when) they do move along.
Cultivate new leaders to forestall a leadership gap. As Boomers leave, or change roles, and Gen Xers fill what gaps their numbers allow, organizations must identify and grow leaders from the ranks they already enjoy. Furthermore, employees should ask after mentorship. Mentees learn more quickly than by experience alone, and mentors within a company become experts regarding where knowledge and leadership gaps exist, and how quickly they’re likely to be filled. It’s a win-win scenario.
But the good news is that most of the transformations predicted lead to fresh opportunity and positive adaptation. With a little foresight and a healthy dose of faith in the talent with whom we work, 2019 should shape up to be a time of empowerment for employers and employees alike. Read more…