The Future
of Employment

Alain Caffi
Mar 10, 2015 · 5 min read

How our professional life will become an adventure…

Strange to say that for a 60 years old French guy, isn’t it? Shouldn’t I think that we are all on a predictive professional track since the day we are born -except if we are a rebel, or a genius, or both?

Obviously we all thought until recently that in most cases, the social status and the level of education were instrumental in pushing kids on the right track. I’m happy to say that this entire boring life story is over for the better! For any individual it means that “professional life will become an adventure” and that nothing will be longer granted or even slightly predictable… and that is all to the good!

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A World of Entrepreneurs and Freelancers

We will have more or less to forget about our traditional CV or any static information and rather look for new tools. These will have to prove in a dynamic way how we fit with a fast moving environment — in terms of professional expertise, personality, social contribution, what our vision is and how we can help preempt new trends.

Of course, large groups will still be there. But current static organizational charts will be replaced by a permanently evolving structure that will depend on individual and collective contributions, just like a Klout score is working. By the way, it’s already how it works in successful start-ups. Large groups will more and more team up with small companies - for flexibility of course, but more importantly for creativity. And we will see more and more efficient ecosystems picking up as it is already the case in biotechnology for instance.

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In this moving environment, mobility and agility is going to be a key both for individuals and companies. In this total flexible economy, most talented people will become entrepreneurs in one way or another. Some will launch or join new companies, new projects, some will act as freelancers selling their expertise. Fewer and fewer people will stay in the same company with some sort of linear evolution as we will all have to take breaks to find new inspiration and prepare the next big jump.

The revolution is already happening!

From the “single-company career” of our parents to the “3-year usual employee turnover” of today, there is already a clear trend to shorter periods spent in a same company. More than that, this revolution has already started in more liberal economies: self-employed people represent 15% of the total workforce in the UK and the trend is clearly rising, as more than two-thirds of the new jobs created over the last six years came from the self-employed. In the US, freelancers represent 34% of all reported jobs. Workers with distinctive expertise clearly want to be independent. And companies, not only do they need more flexibility, but far more importantly, they need those talents, that they cannot nourish internally any longer.

Good news for entrepreneurs: this will ceate many opportunities!

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Venture capital is all about disruption; referring to Steve Jobs who launched Apple with a Conquest idea, venture capitalists are sometimes involved in revolutionary war battles when promoting innovations!

So obviously, this “labor market disruption” already provided us with tons of investments opportunities (think of Etsy which just filed for IPO!). And it will continue to do so, and on a much larger scale.

Impact on Professional Social Networks

For Ventech, we may consider that it started 10 years ago with our investment in Viadeo. Actually, since day one and thanks to the founders’ vision, we were convinced that there were much more at stake there than simply helping people build their professional network. We were convinced that everyone’s professional life would be captured and structured by Professional Social Networks. Indeed, those platforms build day after day an incredible alive asset (permanently updated by the members) which is the databasis of the community, with not only all the information about members but also all the links between them. It took some years but now it becomes clear that traditional head-hunters as well as job boards or freelance marketplaces are more and more useless, both for companies to find talents and for individuals to find their next job or next mission. PSNs will go much further to fit with what we called the “labor market disruption”, either by launching new features, or by developing open APIs that would let other companies do so for their community.

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Individuals will need various tools in order to:
- Give an understanding of who they really are and thus replace CV poor presentations,
- Provide instant accurate and trustworthy recommendations,
- Work on their personal branding and e-reputation,
- Efficiently interact with their network (simple and cheap CRMs)
On top of that, all processes are going to be quicker and quicker with more and more interactions. Mobile phones will also bring additional functionalities.

Impact on other sectors

Going further in this new world, it will be more than inevitable for individuals to become versatile within their expertise. They will need to train themselves alone in order to offer the largest range of services. We may expect that the e-learning sector will be boosted by a professional use. Freelancers will both use MOOCs to get more visibility (as speaker) and to develop their skills (as attendant).

On the companies’ side, apart from having a company page on main PSNs we may expect more and more interactions with potentially interesting individuals, in a much more dynamic and constant way. This should be combined with a substantial adaptation of Human Resources Management Systems (HRMS), and Talent Management tools.

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We can also predict that companies will reproduce internally what they experienced externally and in this sense Enterprise Social Networks and Collaborative Technologies will finally be massively used.

Ventech Insight & Stories

European VC firm based out of Paris, Munich, Helsinki and…

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