Are you prepared for the future of work? If you are still in school or recently graduated, my bet is that you are not. Because the schools I am aware of either aren’t telling you the truth or don’t know it themselves. To address this, first, we need to understand the new “work” playing field truly, and then to come up with a strategy to win.
In terms of the playing field, MIT has been doing a lot of thinking in this area, and there is great material to help understand what’s coming. Millennials are the largest generation in human history, and they are facing a much tougher work environment than my generation (boomers) ever did. They are competing against a global supply of talent; education and skill requirements are higher than ever; automation and technology are radically changing “work”; and they are going to have to deal with a pace of change, and solving problems no other generation has faced. A recent Forbes article states, “jobs, as we know them, are going away.”
The reality of the future of work is this:
Nearly 40% of workers in the US are now contingent (contract, not employees) and it is expected to be over 50% by 2023.
Technology & Automation is eliminating traditional jobs at record levels, and this trend is growing
The sharing economy is displacing jobs
Companies are moving to an agile, just in time, workforce and minimizing fixed costs and overhead (employees)
The internet is making work transparent (i.e.,. what it is, who can do it, how to do it, virtual staff, etc.)
Millennials change jobs every two years or less
Income inequality is getting worse
Companies are sourcing talent globally even for traditional white collar career jobs
Ironically, my Alma mater had an alumni round table to share information and get feedback. What they shared greatly concerned me; they surveyed students coming in and found 19% had entrepreneurial interests. Then they surveyed them graduating and found the interest dropped to 3%. This tells me schools are training millennials to be “employees, ” and they are coming out looking for “jobs”; which is in complete contradiction to the future of work being predicted by today’s thought leaders.
I hear a lot of concern from students I mentor as well as from my millennial children about finding work and starting careers. First, they need to be told the truth while they are still in school; the future of work is people being contracted to "do work," get a project done, lead a team, deliver an outcome, and then move on to the next thing as the company’s needs change. Further, employers are using social networks (particularly LinkedIn) to shop for talent the same way you shop for a hotel; think Trip-Advisor for talent. That is the reality, so what are you going to do? What strategy will help you succeed in this new environment?
Building on my experience hiring for my companies as well as the consulting I do with other fast growth companies on top-grading and sourcing talent to gain a competitive advantage I’ve developed a program I call the “Me Inc. Project”.
Me Inc. is simply shifting your paradigm from looking for a job to being an entrepreneur. The fact is you already have your own business, and your product is YOU! So the “Me Inc. Project” is simply using disciplined, entrepreneurial business practices, and applying them to selling your product (YOU) instead of chasing a job! Regardless of what you think of entrepreneurship, you need to be an entrepreneurial thinker as that is what companies are buying. Enactus is an international social entrepreneurship organization that operates at schools in over 50 countries, and most of the Fortune 500 companies are hiring students from Enactus because of the can-do entrepreneurial mindset it gives them. I want to help you develop that mindset through a series of articles and exercises I’ll be sharing under the title of the Me Inc. Project.
I hope this helps and if you have any comments or suggestions, please let me know.