Few people would deny that the world of work is changing. Gone are the days of a job for life with the promise of a gold watch and a pension after 40 years of faithful service. Today the employment market is volatile, fast-moving and in a constant state of flux. Full-time permanent contracts as characterised by the 1950s manufac – turing-based economy are disappearing as career paths become multifaceted with the average work – ing life encompassing periods as an employee, some years of self-employment and inevitably also times of unemployment.
The past 20 years have seen the emergence of many new forms of work from teleworking, coworking and crowdworking through to job sharing and training contracts. In many countries, up to 30 different types of labour contract are in use along – side each other and the percentage of people employed under non-standard contracts continues to grow. In Japan, 35% of people work under non-permanent contracts. The figure is 40% in the EU, and some 15% of the EU workforce – around 33 million people – are self-employed. This number rises to 25% in the US. Even those Euro – peans with ‘standard’ contracts now work atypical hours – with two-thirds working evenings or weekends as opposed to the classic ‘nine to five’.
Now, however, we are witnessing the emergence of a brand new phenomenon, with people resign – ing from secure employee positions to go-it-alone as independent workers. This ‘jobbing out’ as I like to call it has undoubtedly been hastened by the recent economic crisis where a contracting global economy meant that many people lost their jobs and were forced to take a different approach to work. However, it is not just necessity at play. Workers are increasingly faced with either burnout or bore-out in their working lives, and are seeking a new freedom and flexibility in their work.
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