8 Signals about the Future of Work Critical to Headhunters

by Theresa Sturm in — October 2019
What are the future trends relevant to labour markets around the world? What challenges are we facing in the next 20 years and how can we prepare as employers and as executive search partners? One of the highlights of this year’s Talentor Summit in Barcelona was the presentation and workshop led by futurologists and author of futureforwork.com, Santí Garcia.

#1 Exponential Times

As companies’ values depend more and more on intangible assets (as is the case at tech companies), they can develop exponentially. They can move fast and develop quickly. Our organisational world is led by GIANTS (such as Google, Apple, Facebook & Co) and UNICORNS (small start-ups).

On the other hand, there is disruption everywhere - 41% of executives say their companies are at risk of disruption. Therefore, the responsiveness of companies to risk and disruption highly depends on the people working in an organisation. Leaders need to be humble, engaged, visionary and adaptable in order react quickly and guide their organisations through exponential times.

#2 We are getting older

It's a fact that the world population will keep on growing, but not all regions are growing at the same rate. On top of that, we are getting older – the median age will be around 50 in 2030.

This population aging brings new challenges. For recruiting this means that candidates will be older – and older people expect other qualities from their employers. Right now, most companies are trying to establish benefits for the younger generation (generation Y, generation Z), but this will need to change in the future. In future there might be companies that offer a care center for the parents of their employees instead of nurseries for their children.

And we need to adapt our organisational strategies to the concept of an age of longevity – are we really prepared for employees with such a long life?

We need to invest in the skill of managing senior talent.

#3 Hyperlinks subvert hierarchies

Due to the advantages of the connecting technologies, organisations are enjoying reduced transaction and coordination costs. Should I hire new talent, or should I outsource to freelance contractors?

Outsourcing allows companies to establish flatter hierarchies and the number of middle managers is shrinking. However, managers not only lead 5 persons, but maybe a team of 20 people and therefore need more developed leadership skills and experience.

Furthermore, there is also a workforce that has no leadership at all, or an algorithm as his boss (e.g. uber driver,). New models will be developed, based on tribes and chapters (such as Spotify).

Culture eats strategy for breakfast.

Culture is the key factor for teams and companies to succeed.

#4 Complex jobs

Blog 2019 hire entire teams1

The current working world is moving from routine to non-routine jobs. Complex jobs have a characteristic: performance variability. In a high complex job, the contribution of a good employee can be 800% higher than from an average employee. What does that mean to recruiting? It’s super important to get top performers for complex jobs.

Another criterion for performance is the environment. An individual can only perform in the perfect team, the perfect environment or culture. That’s why more and more tech companies hire entire teams that already proven their successful collaboration.

#5 Employability and careers

The career is dead-long. Long live the career!

Such is the mixed message regarding careers that we are carrying into the next millennium. The business environment is highly turbulent and complex, resulting in terribly ambiguous and contradictory career signals. Individuals, perhaps in self-defence, are becoming correspondingly ambivalent about their desires and plans for career development. The traditional psychological contract in which an employee joins a firm, works hard, performs well, is loyal and committed, and thus receives ever-greater rewards and job security, has been replaced by a new contract based on continuous learning and identity change, guided by the search for what Herb Shepard called "the path with a heart."' In short, the organizational career is dead, while the protean career is alive and flourishing.

#6 Freelancing boom

Blog 2019 freelancer

The growth of the freelance workforce is accelerating, and it has big advantages for businesses. Freelancers help companies meet their business objectives, such as launching new products, bringing speed to market or operating on full capacity. That’s why we also call them flexible talent.

Freelancers keep their saws sharp.

They most certainly focus on their personal and professional development and training, making sure they have the most updated skills, hacks and tools. They are more flexible and independent; they enjoy their entrepreneurial spirit and can work with different projects and clients.

For half of freelancers it is a one-way ticket – they never go back to a traditional job, meaning a lot of good candidates can only be hired in an alternative way. On top of that, managing freelancers is not easy; you need to establish a good network of freelancers with a trusted relationship.

#7 A job with a purpose

The world is in a trust crisis. We don’t trust governments, organisations, media, businesses, or even NGOs. – some studies show that the most trusted relationship might be the one with the employer. But what does that mean for employers? What does society demand?

67% of candidates expect that an employer follows a greater purpose, 74% expect to know what is going on in the company; they prefer an inclusive culture. And 76% of the candidates look for strong leadership from CEOs.

# 8 Radical transparency

We are all playing in a world of radical transparency. In a world of Google and Facebook, we are not only a transparent candidate but also a transparent employer. Your own digital tattoo is super powerful. There are apps like Crystal Knows that give you the DiSC profile of the candidates found on LinkedIn. There are search engines that search for people – such as PIPL. You can create your professional passport, a score measuring professional trustworthiness on TiiQu – which might be the end of the traditional CV. The list is even longer, LinkedIn salary, glass door, kununu or Culture 500 – where you can compare company cultures - just confirm that both sides – candidates and employers - have a lot of information during the hiring process.