In the last two decades, there have been substantial and significant changes to the world of work that have affected billions of workers from every country around the world. One key factor in these changes to working practice has been the IT and information revolution. As the pace of technological innovation continues to increase, the applications for these new forms of tech allow workforces to be more productive and to do more in less time. The incredible and exponential growth of the internet has allowed the world to quickly access information and to conduct business in an increasingly online environment. Even two decades ago, the internet was far less sophisticated than it is today, and its scope of influence was far less important to consumers and workforces. Today, in 2023, trading and eCommerce can take place in a seamless online world and consumers are fully prepared to buy their products and services in an international marketplace. The world of employment is now unrecognizable from that of two decades ago. Workers have different goals and the idea of “a job for life” is all but a distant memory. This article focuses on some of the key ways in which employment has changed in the last twenty years. Naturally, there is a heavy focus on how various forms of technology have driven these changes, but other factors are also considered and discussed that represent the changing needs of society and workforces.
The rise of freelance work
Two decades ago, contracted employment was the norm for most of the global workforce. An employee would have a pre-agreed working contract, which dictated the hours and days he or she would work along with their standard roles and responsibilities. Today, in 2023, it is estimated that 35% of the global workforce is employed in some form of freelance work without a permanent contract. This equates to over 1.1 billion workers and represents a seismic shift in the structure of employment in the last twenty years. Freelance work has benefits for both the worker and the business. A worker will benefit from increased flexibility in their working week, with the ability to choose preferred working patterns and work orders. This allows millions of people to gain greater control over their work/life balance as it is easier to plan personal activities along with working schedules. Employers benefit as the available work is always allocated and in times of a lack of work, they do not need to pay staff. Freelance work is popular in a wide range of sectors and industries, from IT professions to content creation and journalism. In recent years, shipping work has moved to a greater reliance on freelance drivers to fulfill deliveries and shipments. Shipping work is commonly placed on online jobs boards which you can learn more about by clicking on the link. These are then accessed by a pool of shipping freelancers who bid on the jobs, normally with the lowest bid winning the contract.
Remote and hybrid models of work
In a similar way to the rise of freelance working practices, there has also been a dramatic increase in remote and hybrid models of work in the last two decades. This change took place to a large degree in more recent times, specifically in response to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the pandemic, millions of businesses were forced to change working practices to ensure business continuity in the wake of movement and public gathering restrictions that were placed on countries by their governments. Put simply, workers could not meet in centralized offices or workplaces during the height of the pandemic (in an attempt by the government to slow the spread of the virus) and remote or hybrid models of work became a necessity. Today, the pandemic is still present, although restrictions in most countries have been lifted and “a new normal” has been adopted. Remote and hybrid models of work are still popular with both employees and many employers. Recent statistics from hubstaff.com suggest that a remote workforce can be more productive than a centralized one and many workers feel that these models of work allow greater flexibility in their working weeks. In short, it is expected that remote and hybrid models of work will remain as accepted working practices even when the pandemic becomes a distant memory. Video conferencing technology, reliable home internet and collaborative platforms such as Trello have been instrumental pieces of technology that have facilitated these new working practices.
Using technology in decision making
It is widely recognized that technology now plays a more prominent role in corporate decision-making than it did two decades ago. Millions of firms now harness the power of big data and analytics in platforms such as Microsoft Power Bi to allow them to make data-driven decisions. Data is taken in high volumes from multiple business sources and then transformed using complex analytics functions to deliver insightful information that is easy to understand but highly reliable. In an increasingly uncertain global marketplace, analytics and big data have proven themselves to be able to offer clarity in decision-making for millions of businesses. You can find some of the best business analytics platforms by searching online.
Improved employee benefits packages
As a final key point, it is important to note that employee benefits packages have changed radically in the last twenty years. Previously, an employee benefits package would consist of a predetermined salary, employee pension contributions and possibly some form of healthcare package. Today, employee benefits are far more diverse and can include cycle-to-work schemes, subsidized gym membership and tailored training schemes to allow employees to develop their careers. Many employers are recognizing the power of a substantial employee benefits package in attracting and retaining a talented workforce and it is expected that this trend will continue to grow in the near future in all sectors of work. Put simply, in an era where millions of workers change careers after only a few years in one job, these packages help to retain the best and brightest.