The Shifting Employment Trends in the Digital Age

May 23, 20193:14 pm
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Rapid developments in digital technology amidst globalisation, demographic alteration and other fundamental evolutions in global environment has dramatically changed the future of job. These forces are reshaping labour markets drastically and raise challenges to public policy in new, unknown ways. According to a Flexibility@work study, to understand these changes, you should acknowledge yourselves with two stylised facts: deindustrialisation and job polarisation. Job polarisation refers to the growing importance of least and most paid occupations in our economy. While deindustrialisation deals with the reduction of a nation’s industrial capacity. These phenomenons capture shifting composition of labour market which requires labour market transition.

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The labour market transition, then, shapes a new trend in workforce. A study from Labour and Population showed that transition of the changes will result in new employment or workforce. Employees need to work in a more decentralised, specialised firms. Employers, on the other hand, are required to recruit groups with retraining and lifelong learning due to slower labour growth.

There will be shifting demographic patterns in terms of workforce composition as well. For instance, there is a shift toward a more balanced distribution by age, sex, and race/ethnicity. Technology and economic globalisation are also the cause of our new workforce changes.  

Aside from the workforce shift, a survey from Civil Service College also cited that the new trends will change our social norms and nature of work. It will result in more jobs being displaced and more frequent bouts of involuntary unemployment. Individuals will be required to accept the underemployed job offer or do side work as a result of the shift.  They will also likely experience more frequent career transitions across companies, sectors, and even types of employment.

Thus, concluding from the studies, we can expect that there will be some new trends in employment and/or workforce. These trends can be summarised into three aspects namely:

Working experience

In the past, workforce requires continuous work experience in the same field. Today, versatile experience is more needed. New employment requires years of relevant experience but varied in terms of workforce fields.

Image credit: Civil Service College

Type of skills

Task-based skills such as technical, tools familiarity, and know-how were needed. But now, soft skills are more needed in today’s employment. Employers seek candidates who have a can-do attitude, willingness to learn, communication skills, task management skills, etc.

“At some point, you will hit a plateau. If you keep doing the same things you did to get to that point, make a change.” – J.R. Rim

Type of work

As more technology is replacing human in repetitive tasks, new employment will require candidates to be able to rapidly change or adapt to new industry. For example, an employee should be able to do several disciplines for the time of employment.

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