Tag: workforce

The future of work could be in freelance

Today freelancers present 35% of the workforce in the United States, 16% in the European Union and – while South African figures are harder to determine – the number is thought to be about 10% and rising strongly.

Linda Trim, Director of FutureSpace, said: “The data shows that freelancing is on the rise worldwide.

“And that’s partly because of the ‘gig economy’, people working independently for companies like Uber which is a relentlessly evolving phenomenon.”

In OECD countries, studies show that freelancers individuals work chiefly in the services sector (50% of men and 70% of women). The remainder are everything from online assistants to architects, designers and photographers.

A recent study called “A snapshot of today’s on demand workforce” by software firm Xero, showed that the majority of freelancers in OECD countries are “slashers”, meaning that their contract work supplements another part-time or full-time position.

These additional earnings can vary considerably. Those who spend a few hours a month editing instruction manuals from home may earn a few hundred euros (R3 to R4k) a month. Freelance occupational therapists may pull in ten times that working full-time (R30 to R40k/month).

Said Trim: “Perhaps the most glamorous face of freelancing are the ‘creative classes’ an agile, connected, highly educated and globalised category of workers that specialise in communications, media, design, art and tech, among others sectors.

“They are architects, web designers, bloggers, consultants and the like, whose job it is to stay on top of trends.”

Freelancers constitute a diverse population of workers – their educational backgrounds, motivations, ambitions, needs, and willingness to work differ from one worker to the next.

“In addition to the rise if the gig economy, the search for freedom with income is another huge motivator. Freelancing is increasingly a choice that people make in order to escape the 9-to-5 workday.”

Trim added that many of the clients that have signed up at FutureSpace work for themselves and are developing their business or have worked for big businesses for years and are now independent consultants.

“We have also noticed that many large corporates are hiring freelancers and are wanting to use shared spaces like FutureSpace for specific projects or innovation drives rather than have them in the established where they will be exposed to how things have always been done.”

Trim noted however that full-time, company-based work is still the standard for employment in most countries, including South Africa.

“But with the rise of telecommuting and automation and the unlimited potential of crowdsourcing, it stands to reason that more and more firms will begin running, and even growing, their businesses with considerably fewer employees.

“This does not necessarily mean an increase in unemployment. Instead, it likely means more freelancers, who will form and reform around various projects in constant and evolving networks,” Trim concluded.

Hire local or pay the price

The department of labour has begun a countrywide crackdown on South African businesses, in an effort to ensure that companies are not employing more than 40% foreign labour.

According to a report by the Cape Argus , Home Affairs has already visited 85 places of employment in the last two months, including chain stores, farms, hotels and other businesses.

Home Affairs highlighted that the regulations requiring no more than 40% foreign labour in a company’s workforce were not new, but had been “significantly tightened” in the last few months to flush out companies breaking the law.

It said non-compliant companies will be fined heavily and have their licences reviewed, while managers and owners could be jailed for up to two years if the department decided to take legal action.

“This is not a one-off, but an ongoing activity which is achieved through inspections to ensure companies comply,” said Home Affairs minister Hlengiwe Mkhize.

“The role of the department is to continuously enforce compliance and there’s no limit on the number of times a place of employment can be inspected.”

Newly-appointed minister Mkhize’s actions stem from a similar message started by his predecessor, Malusi Gigaba, who warned in February of this year that he was coming for non-compliant businesses.

“Companies, businesses: Be warned. We are coming for you. We will charge them, there’s no doubt. The manger will be charged. Often times, we focus on the undocumented employee and not the company,” Gigaba said at the time.

“We are not saying businesses should only employ 60% of South Africans. Go higher.”

Source: www.businesstech.co.za

With South Africa’s economy under intense pressure and the fallout of socio-political uncertainty impacting significantly on investment, the business climate is volatile to say the least. However, while most companies are holding back on spending and are looking to save, the reality is that it is a mistake to overlook the critical importance of workforce management solutions to optimise processes and optimise businesses in tougher times in particular.

This is the view of Guenter Nerlich, MD of AWM360 Data Systems, the leading provider of Human Capital Management (HCM) focused workforce management solutions.

Nerlich agrees with the broader market sentiment that the economy reflects stagnant to no growth (0%) and this is has put a block on investment. He also agrees that many international businesses are reluctant to invest further ‘on home soil’ and are looking to rather extend their operations and businesses abroad.

The air of apprehension that has engulfed most sectors is beginning to smother industry, strengthened by political infighting, discourse and disharmony between key stakeholders including Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and President Jacob Zuma.

There is also growing concern over the country’s ability to avoid an official financial downgrade by global rating agencies.

So as complex as the situation may be and as serious, the reality facing businesses is that they cannot afford to hold back on investment in technology. “

“You must spend money first to save money,” says Nerlich. “A major part of the problem is that many companies are on a knife-edge – they feel trapped by the economic difficulty and become immobile, which is very dangerous. The fact is that during times of difficulty and volatility, businesses must be proactive and not sit back… sitting on the proverbial fence is not an option,” Nerlich says.

Investment is the backbone of an economy and when there is restriction, there is contraction – it squeezes the life out of investors, according to AWM360 Data Systems and this is very worrying.

“Effectively South African companies are sitting on capital that would otherwise be spent on investment. What we are advocating is that businesses free up their capital and commit to investment in solutions that boost workflow and reinforce HR and systems and directly contribute to the bottom line earnings, that is an investment in the future,” Nerlich continues.

He believes while South Africa’s labour force continues to feel the pinch of economic hardship and resources become more scarce, the need for solutions that optimise work systems, help businesses handle data, analytics, cloud migration, the Internet of Things and digital transformation, will only increase.

According to an article from the World Economic Forum, 35% of the skills that are crucial in today’s workforce will have changed by the year 2020.

The emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution – characterised by an exponential increase in various digital and cyber technologies – will be in full swing.

The rise of smart machines and systems, our computational world, new media ecology, superstructure organisations and the reality of globalisation, are all key factors driving this era. Your current job may cease to exist; new jobs will grow in its place, and currently nonexistent jobs will become the norm.

The question is: how do you ensure your skillset is aligned with the pace of the future’s workforce?

A recent IDC survey, commissioned by Microsoft, shed some light on this question – identifying that although technical skills are valuable, employers of the future will place greater importance on soft skills:

Check out five of the soft skills you’ll need to impress your employer with in 2025, and how you can master them for maximum impact:

Social intelligence
Employers value this skill today and will value it even more in the future: the ability to adapt your behaviour to accommodate various styles of communication, different strengths and weaknesses, and a multitude of personalities.

If you’re in a position of leadership or looking to move into one in the future, this will be a key competency to develop.

Cross-cultural competency
Linked to social intelligence is the capacity to function in a multicultural setting – a soft skill which will be key for working in a world where globalisation is here to stay.

This means you’ll need to be able to adapt the way you communicate, collaborate and interact with people across cultures, as well as work with varying cultural beliefs, time schedules, and nuances. How will you identify, understand and accommodate different cultures in your future work environment?

Speak a universal language of visual communication – this is translatable across language and cultural barriers, so use images or video, as a way to train employees, or educate others in your workspace.
Ask your current co-workers questions – take the time to learn basic words, phrases and gestures from other cultures in an effort to identify with people you may work with in the future.
Make the effort to educate – cultivate an environment of learning, where you transfer the cultural knowledge you have acquired to those you work with. Maybe even teach your boss a thing or two.

New media literacy
As you might be aware, video and audio content are becoming even more prominent when it comes to the exchange of information. Within the next five years it will be even more present, in a wider range of industries. Whether your role currently has a direct relation to these forms of media or not, your ability to consume and understand visual content is going to be a highly desirable skill to your future employer.

Virtual collaboration
Globalisation has resulted in workplaces coexisting in different countries and time zones, meaning it’s almost impossible to have everyone in the same room. In fact, a survey of business leaders at the Global Leadership Summit in London found that 34% of executives said more than half their company’s full-time employees would be working remotely in 2020. And that number is only going to increase.

The only way to solve this problem is by using technology to communicate and collaborate. Virtual collaboration is here to stay, which means you need to be able to continue to engage and encourage productivity with a virtual team in the same way that you would if everyone was in the same building.

Master this soft skill by using tools like Google Docs, Skype, Time Doctor, Basecamp, Slack and Trello.

The ability to self-direct
The use of outsourcing, freelancers and telecommuting will increase in future workplaces, making it impossible to supervise every employee. What does this mean for you? You’ll need to know how to self-direct. This involves increased responsibility, being self-disciplined and accountable, making important decisions on your own, keeping your cool under pressure, and a high level of self-awareness.

In a study by Green Peak Partners and Cornell University on what determines executive success, it was noted that high self-awareness was the “strongest predictor of overall success.”

One popular way to develop this self-awareness is through an examination of the 6 leadership styles proposed by Daniel Goleman, in his publication: Leadership That Gets Results.

Conclusion
From robots to virtual reality, the future workspace may be nothing like we could ever imagine today.

But as founder of Google, Larry Page says, “Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future. I try to focus on that: What is the future really going to be? And how do we create it? And how do we power our organisation to really focus on that and really drive it at a high rate?”

As long as you’re willing to future-proof the way you approach your work, interact with people, and embrace technologies, you’ll have no problem keeping up with the changes to come – and make a massive impression on your future boss while you do.

Source: www.resources.getsmarter.co.za

Known as “digitarians”, or the superficial extroverts, Generation Z are seen as one of the most profound changes in business following the emergence of the post-Millennial generation. Perhaps we should pay more attention to those born in the ’90s – the ones who are about to flood the workforce and who already make p a whopping one quarter of the American population.

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