Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Changing Workforce

As I said in my Eden of the East post I liked it because it talked about NEETS (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) in a way that wasn't the knee jerk, "They're lazy reaction." That reaction is a pet peeve of mine. Not necessarily because it isn't true. Indeed some individuals occasionally even myself are lazy jerks. The reason why I liked it is because it talked about or at least hinted at the fundamental ways the labor market is changing. What annoys me about that knee jerk reaction I mentioned is that it represents a classic ostrich syndrome.

I will say this again. The fundamental way the labor market works is changing. That affects everything, and as a society we cannot afford to ignore it. Whether it is good or bad, it is something that needs to be examined.

I don't just mean it's hard to get a job. I mean that both what employers and employees expect from each other is completely different than what it was in the past. Heck, what employees and employees expect from each other is starting to become completely different depending on which side of the office desk you sit on. Because of this our entire concept of work is changing.

is becoming more possible and prevalent meaning that less people spend work at work. A contingent workforce of freelancers and independent contractors that holds little loyalty to individual companies is factor. More and more college students and graduates are taking internships that offer very little monetary benefit. Employers are more reluctant to provide employee benefits as well as job training, expecting employees to handle those sides of the equation themselves.

These things are happening yet how individuals think about work and are educated regarding that concept work has not changed or at least has not changed as much as the practiced employee employer covenant. For now these changes are subtle, and therefore ignorable but sooner or later we as a society are going to have to reexamine the relationship between labor and management, the individual and the corporation.

These changes are difficult for everybody, but especially difficult for those, such as the younger generation, attempting to break into a workforce where the rules are in flux. It's no longer as simple as graduate, find a job, come to work on time, get paid.

Many don't find work for the next few years, but for the next few weeks. This especially true for writers, programmers, and designers. It takes an acquired skill set of self-marketing that is seldom mentioned let alone taught.

None of this excuses laziness, however it does postulate that there are new challenges in our labor market that are often not being considered and in some cases are completely ignored.

Note: NEET is not a US government classification, but I felt it could be used descriptively.

P.P.S. Note: I am not using the Japanese definition of NEET rather the name on the tin definition.

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