I recently spoke at the Global Recruiter magazine Summit 2014: “Deliver the Future”. The summit explored the future of work from many angles, including legislation change, economic shifts and digital recruiting. In many ways the future is already here but the speed of innovation and technological development have prevented us from appreciating how quickly the world of work is changing.
You may be thinking “but what does this mean for me?” If so, the likelihood is that you’re part of Generation Y who TIME magazine last year labelled the ‘Me Me Me’ Generation due to their self-centred nature. However, self-centred does not mean selfish; Generation Y are enduring a rocky road entering the labour market and yet they have maintained a high sense of social responsibility. They are the best educated generation of working age but globally youth unemployment is high and underemployment is commonplace. Despite these challenges Generation Y are still positive about their career aspirations and have very different expectations of their career than previous generations.
A recent Gallup poll found that young people seek a polycentric approach to life, where life is seen as a system of values organised around multiple focal points, such as work, family, relationships, hobbies and commitments, in which none act as the pivotal centre. In addition Generation Y are less anxious about job insecurity than previous generations; many see instability as a ‘normal’ characteristic of the world of work. So what does this mean for you? It means that the traditional work/life balance is fading away and the two are merging into one.
It is not Generation Y alone who are signalling the end of the separation between work and life. This has been a long-term shift over the last thirty years since mobile technology was first introduced. In the past, work encroached on our personal lives, technology allowed us to work outside of the office, the pace in which business happened increased rapidly and working hours were no longer confined to 9-5, but now, as technology has developed, our personal lives have invaded the workplace. This has manifested in bring your own device (BYOD), social media infiltration and workers being expected to bring their personality, creativity and passions to their job.