Employment in the future will be different to now, and the future is already here

Everything indicates that the future of employment will include more senior citizens in gainful employment than now, with those over 50-55 currently struggling to find work. There will also be far more freelancers or "ad-hoc employees" than today. Flexibility will also be a key word – whether we like it or not!

Why does employment have to change?

Norway, like other countries, is in a situation where the number of older people is dramatically on the rise. Not least because people are living much longer than before. Those of us who were born in the baby boom after the war have now reached respectable years of age.

According to Ingrid Finboe Svendsen, Director of the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority (ref. item from Aftenposten 25 April 2016): In just 14 years (in 2030) employees between the ages of 55 and 64 will represent 30% of the total workforce in Europe. Senior citizens are living longer and more healthily. She also says that surveys find that senior citizens are those who most look forward to going to work. They are also the ones who find that they manage their work best. And they are loyal and enjoy their work.

The world is also changing at an increasing pace. Senior Researcher Robert Salomon at the Norwegian Work Research Institute (AFI) made the following statement in Dagbladet on 4 April this year: "We are already observing trends that indicate that the traditional party collaboration is under threat. The Expert chain recently terminated the collective bargaining agreement with its employees and this is something we are likely to see more of. It will result in a harder working environment with more internal competition between employees."

A great need to grow and shrink - constantly

The changes will also mean that a number of companies will experience a constant need to grow and shrink when it comes to the number of people wanting to work for them. The requirements for expertise within a company will also rapidly change. This will result in fewer permanent employees. Companies will continuously have a large number of temporary employees/hired workforce and access specialist expertise only as needed. This will allow companies to remain competitive.

General Manager of HR Norge, Even Bolstad, made the following statement to Dagbladet on 4 April: "In a study, Deloitte estimates that 30-40% of the expertise in the companies of the future will be associated in some way or another but not through employees."

What about the employees? We are meeting more and more employees, young and old, who say: "I want to work with what I excel at – in different places." This means that an increasing degree of specialist expertise/specialisation is being developed and that companies can draw on this expertise as required. These are people who cultivate their expertise and apply it in various settings. The goal is not to be an employee anywhere.

Growing list of ad-hoc employees

This means that we are facing a reality that is quite different to the situation now. I know that many people are fighting against this development, not least the trade unions, but I am also sure that the development will happen regardless, not least because we want to work differently to what we do now. If companies are to remain profitable going forward it will require much greater flexibility than is currently the case.

I am also convinced that trade unions and others who are fighting against it would agree that we need profitable companies in order for there to be any employment at all – the alternative would benefit no-one! Additionally, there is a growing list of people who want to be ad-hoc employees, people who want to apply their specialist expertise in various different places.

Those of us who work with interim management can already see that there is an increasing trend for companies to focus on obtaining the correct expertise and management at the right time but with the flexibility to allow for rapid changes when new requirements arise. This also means more jobs for those who are experienced and "well into adulthood".