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PA IN THE MEDIA

A workforce revolution is coming – how ready are you?

PA Consulting’s talent expert Jennifer Cable comments in Chief-exec.com’s latest article on workforce transformation, the gig economy and how many executives do not know how to take care of their growing workforces.

Adam Jezard, the article’s author, notes that “the world of work is undergoing an unprecedented and profound change as traditional employment shifts from location-based, nine-to-five routines to more flexible gig-style and part-time working”.

As such, he goes on to say, the effects of these changes on businesses, executives, workers and economies are likely to be profound.

Jennifer Cable, a talent expert at PA Consulting, doesn’t believe business leaders are prepared for such change. She says: “When you look to the future, I would predict a smaller number of core employees and a much larger number of freelance, contingent workers.”

Jennifer continues: “Most employers still assume a core employee will join relatively young and work until retirement age, despite the fact there is no evidence this is the case. If that model is shifting, you need to start looking after the needs and desires of your freelance community more closely.”

This shift in workforce composition is taking place so subtly that many company leaders have little idea how large their existing contingent workforce is, says Jennifer. “The finance department often has a different view of the number of staff employed than HR. Are you counting actual people, full-time equivalents, freelancers or people employed on consultancy projects? It’s very hard to know what you mean by an employee and that question is becoming more and more blurred.”

Despite this shift to less formal working practices, she adds: “Most employers still assume a core employee will join relatively young and work until retirement age, despite the fact there is no evidence this is the case.

“If that model is shifting, you need to start looking after the needs and desires of your freelance community more closely.”

On how workers will be trained and retained Jennifer says: “Executives will need to make choices. Do you pay workers well enough so, when they’re not delivering for you, they are updating their skills? The most effective training is the 70-20-10 model [70 per cent of knowledge is gained from working, 20 per cent from interactions with others, and 10 per cent from formal education]. But that means you must accept individuals will still have to acquire skills while on the job."

Jennifer continues: “The other way is for big employers to work together and say, ‘we know people are going to be moving between us, so rather than fight to keep them, let’s take a broader perspective and say, if I’m developing this individual, they might move and work for you, then you’re training them, but they might come back and work for me’. You’re taking more of a collective approach.”

She adds: “What companies should do is increase wages for the roles demanding skills and supply will follow demand. Attracting talent depends on the conditions you’re willing to offer.”

Read the full article here

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