Automation, which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has significantly disrupted the world of work, leading to new forms of employment that are replacing the traditional full-time open-ended contract model, according to the 2021 edition of Randstad’s Flexibility@Work: Embracing Change report. The report also highlights that, as a result, individuals who typically did not fit into the traditional 40-hour, nine-to-five work-week format are better able to enter the workforce and are transforming the way organizations approach talent sourcing.
This year’s Flexibility@Work report includes insights from the International Labour Organization (ILO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and WorldSkills International and explores the development of work over recent decades and the trends that are shaping the workforce.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted how businesses operate and has sped up the global trend of digitalization, it has also allowed us to improve our technology, connectivity and mobility,” said Randstad CEO, Jacques van den Broek. “If organizations want to successfully recover, they must ensure their workforce is prepared to meet emerging business demands, especially as the nature of work undergoes such a radical transformation. It’s essential that public and private stakeholders collaborate to identify and provide opportunities for more individuals to effectively enter and stay in the labor market.”
In particular, the report shows that temporary work arrangements are on the rise, and both the growing gig economy and available pool of flexible workers will play a key role in global economic recovery efforts. These types of flexible labor relations allow companies to quickly adjust their workforce size and composition based on needs, processes and business goals, but also creates challenges to ensure that workers have opportunities and entry points to establish their careers.
“Working arrangements are becoming more diverse, and we must endeavor to properly understand these non-standard and innovative forms of work,” said Guy Rider, director-general of the ILO. “We must think about entry points and opportunities. It’s tremendously important that people find decent jobs at the beginning of their working lives. This has a positive impact on their lifelong employment prospects.”
Jobs in the future will not be the same as those of today. Despite an increase in total employment, on average, one in seven individual workers will be faced with job loss as a direct result of automation. Based on key insights from the report, governments need to step up and invest in new solutions for working, learning and social protection, and organizations will need to focus on three core areas in 2021: improving workplace flexibility, implementing widespread reskilling efforts and building a sustainable labor market.
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