Only a few decades ago, the career paths and models of work for most employees were predictable and limited in choice. Millions of staff worked in physical office buildings if they were “white collar” workers and would cultivate a career by seeking to gain promotions to rise to more senior positions. If you did not work in a corporate environment, it is likely that you would be involved in factory, service sector, or industrial work. Each of these career options generally consisted of working regular shift patterns (such as 9-5 in an office environment) and having specific days off each week. However, in recent years, there has been a rise in employment positions that are not restricted to specific routines and predictable patterns of work. This article looks at the emerging trends in working models that have started to develop and become commonplace in the modern global economy. There are also examples of these modern methods of work.
The rise of freelance work
The number of workers who undertake freelance roles has risen exponentially in recent years. According to recent statistics, there are now over 1 billion freelance workers worldwide. This type of work is also linked to remote and hybrid models of work, as many freelancers are not required to be in a centralized workplace or adhere to specific working patterns. One example of freelance work is that of freelance shipping drivers. Shipping firms such as Shiply post shipping work online on job boards. These job boards are then accessed by a pool of freelance drivers who bid for the work. Typically, the lowest bid is tasked with fulfilling the delivery. Once the shipment is completed, funds are paid electronically into the freelancer’s bank account, with the shipping firm taking a percentage of the total price of the job.
There has also been a move towards outsourcing both routine and project work in many different forms of commerce. Previously, medium and large-sized companies would have many different departments and specialist teams. This created high wage budgets for the organization. Today, outsourcing has become popular with firms that seek to streamline their staffing costs while still delivering the project and task work they require. Common examples of this emerging business practice include outsourcing various IT functions such as IT support desk work and some IT project work. Outsourcing allows companies to gain access to highly trained specialist staff to undertake the roles. For projects that have pre-agreed timescales to completion, the outsourced staff will only be paid for the work undertaken, and there is no need to keep them employed by the firm once the work is completed.
Improvement in consumer IT and the increasing availability of reliable internet connections around the world have allowed millions of people to work as digital nomads. This model of work allows people to travel extensively while still generating a substantial income to fund their travel and nomadic lifestyle. Common roles for digital nomads include graphic design work, IT project roles, and content creation for the internet. Many digital nomads simply need a laptop and smartphone to undertake their roles, and modern banking/finance applications such as PayPal allow funds to be received by the digital nomad wherever they are in the world.