It’s no exaggeration to say that the current employment landscape is undergoing some of the most momentous changes since the Industrial Revolution. There has been an undeniable macro shift in today’s open talent economy around the world and in almost every sector.

This shift to the new future of work means that employers and employees must come to terms with a new environment in which flexibility and adaptability take priority over job security and long-term employment, structured environments, and standardised roles.

This emerging economy is principally driven by a few mega trends that are fundamentally changing the structure of talent and work. Here, we highlight the seven major trends that we’ve identified as fuelling the exciting future of work across the globe.

1. Technology – the foundation of the open-talent economy

When people can learn, share, and work anywhere in the world, the traditional talent assumptions are no longer ironclad. Advances in computing speed, storage, and power are making global, real-time collaboration possible in almost every discipline. Technology also allows for faster matching, onboarding, performance and knowledge transfer when engaging with independent workers, thus lowering overall transaction costs.

2. Modern forms of mobility

Greater technical and social mobility allows talent to be decoupled from physical geography and defined markets, making it possible to work anytime from virtually anywhere.

3. The speed of change

While the volatility of demand and ever-faster innovation cycles create a heightened demand for skills, it is almost impossible to predict the skills needed for the future of work and build up an internal talent pool. It is therefore necessary to develop an on-demand talent supply that transcends borders.


4. The social contract – a construct of the past

The social contract between large employers and their employees – where, in return for job security and a predictable future, employees gave a life-long commitment to their company – is far more rare today than it was only 10 to 15 years ago. The movement away from the social contract applies to employers and employees alike. Employers today rely on flexibility and adaptability in order to respond to volatilities in business volume and shortened innovation cycles, while employees no longer wish to work in traditional office environments or nine-to-five jobs.


5. From traditional structures to dynamic networks 

People now live public, fast-paced lives, expecting real-time feedback, collaboration and sharing. The open talent economy is a social environment where people can connect, share information, and build a sense of community. It is the greatest open-source app, shifting from traditional organisational structures to dynamic networks.

6. Educational enhancements 

Especially in emerging markets, the past 20 years have seen an explosion in the growth of the education sector—in terms of both traditional educations institutions and online educational programmes. The rapid expansion of pools of talented manufacturing, services and knowledge workers around the world continues to reshape global talent networks.

7. Talent marketplaces – the middle man

By giving access to the open talent market while keeping transaction costs low, new technology platforms decrease risk and enhance efficiency for companies as well as independent workers by facilitating better match-making and quality control.


Looking to the future of work

To meet the need for greater agility and flexibility, businesses will have to reconsider their approach to sourcing talent, and open up to this dynamic global talent market as they look to the future. This market will develop even further as people become more comfortable with working independently in order to enjoy better work/life balance, autonomy and career control.

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