Our Weekly TOP 5: Trends In The World Of Work

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Youth unemployment, apprenticeships and helicopter parents are just some of the topics in this week's round-up of essential articles on the world of work.
February 21, 2020

#1. White-collar workers adopting gig economy habits

Young workers are driving a change in employment, according to new research by Deloitte. They found that the principles of the gig economy, such as flexible working hours and on-demand shifts, are being taken up by white-collar workers in Silicon Valley. America will reach 42 million contractors, freelancers and other gig workers this year – three times the 2017 total. The flexibility is popular with employers, who can operate with a smaller permanent staff and add contract workers at crunch times, but it suits workers too, some of whom have full-time jobs. They are motivated by adding a range of experiences to boost their employment profiles, rather than building up years with one firm.

💡 The gig economy is here and it’s here to stay. On top of their full-time jobs, young and white-collar workers use the gig economy to earn more money and enjoy more flexibility.

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#2. Helicopter parents landing in their kids’ offices

The rise of ‘helicopter parents’ who hover above their children, watching their every move, has reached the workplace. As this PBS Newshour article explains, parents have been known to come to job interviews with their children and even call up to ask why their – adult – child didn’t get the job. On the one hand, this kind of “coddling”, as one interviewee describes it in the article, is detrimental to the young person concerned, who misses out on an opportunity to develop by themselves. On the other hand, some companies are simply adapting. Cornerstone OnDemand, a Silicon Valley firm, hosts a ‘Take Your Parents to Work Day’, where they explain to those helicopter parents what it is that their children do all day.

💡 The world of work is changing. With Millennials and Gen-Zers set to make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025, companies are having to update their business cultures to reflect new demands.

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#3. UK apprenticeship scheme needs ‘comprehensive review’

More than £400 million intended to pay for apprenticeships has been returned to the UK government, the BBC has reported. The funds were raised through a levy on larger employers, who have the option to transfer a quarter of their levy to other employers if they don’t plan to use them. The Department for Education says the money will be redistributed but the scheme has been criticised by employers who say the rules for levy-funded apprenticeships are inflexible and impractical. The Confederation of British Industry said the scheme needs a “comprehensive review”.

💡 Work-based learning is a great way of providing young people with work experience while closing the skills gap at the same time.

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#4. HR technology isn’t just for global giants

The end of March sees a free online event from the HR Exchange Network, HR and Future of Work. One session, by Tracie Sponenberg, chief people officer at The Granite Group, looks at HR Automation. She points out that 50% of HR professionals work at companies with less than 500 people but much of the talk about HR technology comes from global giants. She says that technology can be just as powerful for SMEs: “If HR takes the time to automate the routine day-to-day tasks and ‘paperwork,’ we can be free to really dig into strategy and people development – coaching, training and developing our team members to be prepared for the future of work.”

💡 HR professionals are key to any company’s success – large or small. That’s why they need all the support they can get, including that of technology, to do what they’re best at – developing talent.

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#5. Youth employment remains a challenge in Europe

Europe has never had so many people employed, Nicolas Schmit, the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, told a recent conference. However, youth unemployment remains high, particularly in many parts of southern Europe. Mr. Schmit said: “We have to adjust our educational system. The transition from studies to professional life should be much smoother. We are losing talents and knowledge on the bumpy way from universities to the business world – we must improve this connection”

💡 Tackling youth unemployment requires cooperation between the public and private sectors.

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