Today many of us are effectively contractors, so adjust your mind – set to the world of contracting work.
The world of work has changed significantly since the 1980’s. It is no longer realistic to expect a job for life, or a career in one organisation, nurtured by human resources staff, working your way up the organisation until you retire at 65 with a gold clock and a final salary pension.

Don’t wait for work to come to you. Keep your CV in front of recruiters by updating it regularly.
In today’s turbulent world of mergers, acquisitions and downsizing there are market pressures for organisations to be flexible in the employment of staff, to remain competitive and win contracts. They cannot afford to have people on staff waiting for contracts.

The net effect of all of this is that many huge contracts, both in the public and private sector, are outsourced to organisations that bid to perform them. If the bid is successful, the winner must set about finding suitably skilled and trained staff, normally via recruitment agencies, and often at short notice. They will often take these people on as contractors, rather than as permanent staff.
In the UK in 2013 there were over a million people working on “Zero Hours “ contracts – that is to say the company has established a relationship with them , has cleared them to work for them, has their ID and bank details but has no obligation to give them any work. They will utilise them as and when they need them.

Against this background employers do not have the time or the motivation to nurture skills in employees. If employees want to win work of a technical nature, such as ITC work, or data communications, they must take responsibility for their own continued professional development, ensuring they develop new portable skills that are of use to organisations that have contracts to fulfil.
Many of our big companies in the UK such as Capita and Group 4 Security do not have a stable, permanent workforce, but take on staff specifically to fulfil contracts. In the same way Local Authorities use temporary teachers to cover illness and maternity leave, and the NHS has a massive outsourced workforce at every level from Doctor to cleaner. This is reflected in many economies.
In these cases the relationship between employer and employee is transactional rather than relational. The employer has no interest in nurturing the career or developing the skills of temporary workers. They need them to be “work ready” when the posts are advertised.

Employees need to have several strong, relevant, up to date CV’s which showcase their multiple skills and experience for several different, probably related, types of work.

They need to build relationships with recruitment agencies, demonstrate a willingness to accept work at short notice, for indeterminate periods, across as wide a geographical area as possible.
Even if employees are willing to work in minimum wage positions, many will need to adopt the same flexibility and management of their own career, as even administrative, clerical and call centre work is now outsourced by contracts, and the employer is competing for work.

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
Theodore Roosevelt
For many of us now, the employee is effectively self-employed and must constantly accept short term employment, manage their own career and work, professional development and their financial and tax affairs. Very few of us will be employed long term, even in the public sector.

Every man and woman for themselves!


The contemporary worker — 136 Comments

  1. I am so grateful having been a member and a finished product of this e’learn platform. I currently work as a store and inventory manager at Hotel here in Uganda, as well seeking to serve in the same postition or others in the kitchen management in UK. Any one interested in hiring me can reply or use the same procedure to find me. Denish Bob Opido.

  2. Thanks very much for your advices and couraging tips on self sastainebility,am john bosco from uganda ,but in field of somalia for short duty purpose,i have got experience of 6year in Elderly care management and oracticing on my personal bussiness but wish to work also out side my country,and in any country .thanks.

  3. My name is aliakbar I have a 7year experience operation theatre I am a govt employee govt main munshi teaching hospital Lahore Pakistan post of ot/technetion

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