I loved this picture even though it only represents men! When I started to write about careers in the 1970’s we were already saying that the average worker was likely to have at least 4 jobs before retirement. That was well before this century when we now have portfolio careers, huge increase in self employment, the gig economy and all generations – espeially millenials and the 60+ – creating a portfolio lifestyle for themselves. See my earlier blog on this.
This picture represents the fact that graduates are job hopping more often than previous generations. According to new research it is estimated that by the time today’s millennials reach the age of 32, they will have changed jobs four times. In addition, recent research from EY shows that two-fifth of companies expect to employ more gig economy workers in the next 5 years.
A further 25 % said they predicted 30 % or more of their workforce would be contingent workers by 2020.
The growing use of gig economy workers is down to strategic reasons beyond cost control and filling temporary posts, said Tony Steadman, principal in EY’s People Advisory Services. “The survey responses suggest that organisations are welcoming gig workers as a part of their growth and change management strategies. The gig economy looks very different to the traditional picture of seasonal workers or workers who provide common services to consumers.”
Key reasons cited by employers for turning to contingent workers included: using expertise beyond the capability of the existing workforce (56 per cent); helping to control labour costs (55 per cent); helping to overcome resistance to change within the organisation (50 per cent); and season work requirements (42 per cent).
Part of my portfolio career is chairing the Quality in Career Standards Consortium QiCS. Our job is to encourage schools and colleges to apply for a Careers Quality Award and we ensure that the 12 organisations who can give out these awards are indeed qualified to do so. I cannot but think back to when I wrote the first book on careers education in schools in 1972. The world of work looked very simple then compared to today. And I have a genuine concern that more than ever now youngsters need to he aware of the huge range of work and career lifestyles that are available to them and to realise that for the rest of their lives they will always have alternatives and that they in theory at least can continue to reinvent themselves and their style of living.
The future of work is constantly changing and in so doing is contributing towards nothing less than a new industrial revolution but this one will take a fraction of the time that the previous one took to get established and this in turn will be succeeded by the next one that will be very different again.
Welcome to the world of portfolio living! Again!
…. was a finding from an article in the Journal of Happiness Studies recently. Admittedly the research was on students only but the findings were significant enough to get the authors speculating about numbers of passions and happiness and well being. The results clearly showed that those with 2 or more passions scored significantly more highly on a number of well being criteria than those dedicated to one. Now for someone often extolling the pluses of a portfolio career this is manna from heaven. I have total respect for all career patterns including the rapidly declining 20th century one of one job for life. But I am old enough to recall being criticised throughout my life, at least until this century, as someone who lacked ‘stickability’, dedication, a sense of direction and, as my headteacher described me in 1961, “On your tombstone Hopson it will simply say ‘He was a dilettant'”. I was not sure what that was so went home and looked it up in the dictionary and you know what – I thought that sounds pretty good to me!
Since then we have had Barbara Sher – who I did a webinar with a couple of years ago – talking about people who are scanners. She describes scanners thus:
Unlike those people who seem to find and be satisfied with one area of interest, you’re genetically wired to be interested in many things, and that’s exactly what you’ve been trying to do.
Because your behavior is unfamiliar — even unsettling — to the people around you, you’ve been taught that you’re doing something wrong and you must try to change. But what you’ve been told is a mistake — you have been misdiagnosed. You’re a different creature altogether.
What you’ve assumed is a disability to be overcome by sheer will is actually an exceptional gift. You are the owner of a remarkable, multi talented brain trying to do its work in a world that doesn’t understand who you are and doesn’t know why you behave as you do.
But increasingly we now meet and hear people who are passionate about developing portfolio careers and the statistics are clear that it is a real career choice now.
But to this day some people still ask me when I am going to focus on one thing ……………
And if you want more proof of its validity as a life choice watch this great TED talk on multipotentialities by Emilie Wapnick.
Enjoy your portfolio career – like I do.