017 The future of work

Todays episode is part of the Kontist – Blogparade. I will be addressing the question of whether the future of work is being self-employed. Or not.

With more and more jobs being automated in today’s day and age, there is no doubt that the world of work is changing, but what can we expect?
I discuss this question in the german Podcast LEBEN-FÜHREN, as well. check it out!

Recent trends

For 60 – 70 years or so now there has been a trend to shift work to those countries in which labour costs are cheaper. In Germany, this has been going on for just as long. Take the automobile industry for example, where welding jobs are long defunct, and manufacturing has been outsourced to namely the countries of Asia. The same can be said in IT where CPUs, for example, are no longer specialized, but standardized. Increasingly we will see manual work cease altogether.

Automation is similarly reducing the number of jobs out there. First, the internet saw customers increasingly do the work of employees. Take for instance bookstores. Once upon a time you would enter, have a chat with a sales staff to find your book and then pay out the checkout. Nowadays people go to Amazon. Or take self-check-out tills as another example. People now scan and pay for their items themselves instead of using a cashier. This is the direction work is heading– more will be optimised and rationalised as a greater number of standard jobs become obsolete.

Growing opportunities

I believe this gives tonnes of opportunities for the rest of the world. With labour moving to where it is cheapest, it will mean that these countries become wealthier. In the end, that means they become better customers. So as labour moves around the globe, what does that mean for business? Going after these opportunities in other parts of the word is of course challenging. Working in a new business environment means understanding local regulations, the legal and the tax system, not to mention the language. Of course, there are cultural differences too which I will address later in another episode! Countries that are smart enough to establish agencies for businesses wanting to enter a new market would be best positioned to attract investment to their countries.

for whom?

But what’s the likelihood of people taking advantage of these opportunities? Is being self-employed the future of work? The truth of the matter is that being self-employed is hard work. Most people don’t want the hassle. Full-time jobs pay the rent and put food on the table – they provide security. Being self-employed on the other hand is riskier.

Nonetheless, I believe more people in the future will create their own businesses. I think mankind has never lived in a world with so many opportunities for one person. The globe became a village. More and more people will, in turn, build very cool businesses. My hypothesis is that more and more people will reduce the amount of time they work in a fixed contract with a company, and participate increasingly in the opportunities available.

To find out more about the future of work listen on to this edition of Live It, Lead IT!



Olaf Kapinski