Future of Work and Jobs

The digital revolution destroys jobs. It is harder than ever for both young and older workers to find work. Plus full time work is steadily moving to contract, part time, freelance and occasional work. 

The digital revolution destroys jobs. It is harder than ever for both young and older workers to find work. Plus full time work is steadily moving to contract, part time, freelance and occasional work. 

About AIEA

My name is Mal Walker and I am the Founder and Chairman of the Australasian Interim Executive Association.

I have been operating a boutique Executive Search company (GreyHair Alchemy) since 2002. My speciality was (and is) senior executives who would be prepared to undertake an interim role; such as a three-month contract or three days a week.

Over many coffee meetings, my candidates often expressed a desire to meet other interim managers. Eventually, this led to the formation of the Australasian Interim Executive Association in 2013.

What is AIEA?

AIEA is a professional organisation for interim executives that are recognised for their practical, hands-on skills and a broad understanding of the total business environment. It’s like AHRI and AICD, but for hands-on Executives and Managers and most AIEA members are also members of other professional bodies.

AIEA is an industry/business body formed to represent executives and managers that are recognised for their practical, hands-on skills and a broad understanding of the total business environment.

  • Executives who want to meet and leverage off like-minded professionals
  • Executives who want a collective voice to represent them to government and industry
  • Executives who have a wealth of experience and don’t want to stop working
  • Executives who don’t need retraining, just a contract or a Board position
  • Executives who want their professional body to help them find their next paid assignment.

As a measure of their experience, 22% of our members are over 60, 19% are under 50 and the rest are in-between. They are right at the peak of their powers.

AIEA especially relates to executives who offer their services on an interim, contract, consultancy, FIFO or part-time basis, including NEDs.

Our primary focus is on helping AIEA members to find their next job. The AIEA-Jobs board delivers this. The candidates on AIEA-Jobs are exclusively AIEA members and posting a vacancy on the Job Board is available at no cost to business managers and recruiters who have a suitable role to fill. No recruitment fee to pay.

What I Like About My Job

By far, it is meeting and knowing the AIEA members. They are an extraordinary bunch of men and women who display their knowledge and expertise in so many ways. And it’s not just the members; the employers who are interested in harnessing their skills are generally of a similar level of professionalism. 

My Biggest Challenge

AIEA is a unique entity, as professional institutes go, and we’ve had to trail-blaze in so many areas. We launched a free jobs board for the members in 2016 and my current challenge is finding ways to make the potential employers aware of the AIEA talent pool. Being free to members and to employers, it must be run without a marketing budget.

What I am most proud of at AIEA  

Our members are Interim Managers, which means the mostly work from home when they are not on assignment. Being individuals, they appreciate the focus and identity that AIEA affords them. AIEA represents their interests in dealings with politicians, government authorities, employer groups and other business associations

Mal Walker mal@aiea.org.au Phone 1800 394 247

For more information visit www.aiea.org.au

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The rise of the gig economy

Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) found around 70% of Australians aged under 34 were open to using a digital platform (eg. Uber, Airtasker) to source income in the next year

Like other parts of the world, the G21 Region labour market is undergoing significant structural change due to new technologies and the decline in full-time work.  If the Region is to ensure that it has a robust labour market which is accessible to all, then it is important to gain a deeper understanding of the new economy and its impact on jobs.  

G21 region map

G21 Region map: http://www.g21.com.au/about-g21 

What is the gig economy?

Also termed the ‘collaborative economy’, the ‘sharing economy’ or the ‘on-demand economy’, the ‘gig economy’ describes the rise of non-traditional ways of working and providing goods and services that involve temporary, task-by-task forms of employment. Gig forms of employment are not necessarily new – for example, freelancing has been the predominant mode of employment in several industries for a long time - but the emergence of digital talent platforms, such as Uber, Airtasker and Deliveroo, has seen the creation of new markets and recruitment platforms.

According to some employer groups, the rise of the gig economy is being driven by workers who are expressing an increasing demand for autonomous and flexible work (Australian Industry Group 2016, p.5). Research by the McKinsey Global Institute suggests there are four key segments of ‘independent’ workers:

  • free agents, who actively choose independent work and derive their primary income from it;
  • casual earners, who use independent work for supplemental income and do so by choice;
  • reluctants, who make their primary living from independent work but would prefer traditional jobs; and
  • financially strapped, who do supplemental independent work out of necessity (McKinsey Global Institute 2016).

Four segments

How many people are employed in the gig economy?

No direct figures are available as yet for Australia, but figures from around the world can help paint a picture of how gig work has grown:

  • UK gig workforce is estimated at 4% of working adults (aged 18-70)
  • US data suggests 14-20% of all employed people engage in gig work
  • Almost 29% of jobs added post-GFC (2010-14) were attributed to an increase in the number of independent contractors
  • Data from the US & Europe combined suggests 20-30% of the working age population engage in some form of independent work
  • Of this group, 15% have used a digital recruiting platform
  • Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) found around 70% of Australians aged under 34 were open to using a digital platform (eg. Uber, Airtasker) to source income in the next year

Benefits of the gig economy

  • Autonomy
  • Accessibility
  • Flexible working hours
  • Complementary/supplementary income (to main income source)
  • Job creation through gig work can lead to a rise in the GDP

Risks of gig work

  • Inherently insecure and unpredictable
  • No guaranteed minimum income (if relying on gig work as your entire income source)
  • Employers have no obligation to provide education/training/equipment necessary to perform the role
  • Potential for rise in ‘zero hours’ contracts – exacerbating the existing problem of underemployment, which is a significant barrier for young people’s successful participation in the labour market.

Challenges of the gig economy

  • Legal classification of gig workers – are they independent contractors? Employees? Workers?
  • What rights do gig workers have to: minimum wage, unfair dismissal protections, holiday and sick pay, superannuation?
  • What pathways for support/redress are available to workers who feel they have been exploited?

Gigging is likely to be significant in the future of work. As we move further away from the standard employment relationship of a full-time permanent job, towards the model of the ‘portfolio career’, which can involve various combinations of part-time employment, self-employment, and other working arrangements, gig work is likely to be something that individuals dip in and out of across their working lives. The CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians, Jan Owen, maintains that ‘the increasingly flexible nature of the modern workforce will likely see a 15-year-old today navigating a portfolio of 17 jobs in 5 different industries’ (Owen 2017). If her predictions prove correct, then preparing young people for the reality of their future working lives will require a fundamental shift in the way we approach work, and the meanings and expectations we attach to it.

Geelong Region LLEN’s Expansive Learning Network will be hosting the first in a series of Events on the impact of the gig economy in the G21 region.  It will be held at Deakin Cats Community Centre, Simonds Stadium, Wednesday 16th August 9am-1pm.  Keep an eye on the website (http://www.grllen.com.au/news/grllen-events) and our social media for more details.

Edited extract from a paper prepared by Geelong Region LLEN labour market analyst and futurist, Dr. Jude Walker, and Geelong Region LLEN Researchers-in-Residence, Meave Noonan and Atticus Gray

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