Yes – the portfolio career trajectory is alive and well down under. Do have a look at a great article by Janie Barrett in which she also summarises what is happening in the US and the implications for employers. The latter have not yet fully recognised the commercial possibilities of hiring more and more free lancers who are primarily self motivated.

For the first time, less than half of all Australians employed are in permanent full-time jobs. Contrary to popular belief, the fastest growing segment of the on-demand workforce is actually white collar professionals rather than low skilled workers. By 2020, more than 40 per cent of the white collar workforce will freelance in the US and this pattern is being repeated in other countries.

Janie says that “The vast majority of white-collar freelancers are freelance by choice. They value flexibility, diversity and autonomy over a ‘stable income’. Many, in fact, earn more by freelancing than they did in their ‘stable’ jobs. It’s also common for our freelancers to say there’s no amount of money that would entice them to replace their current situation with a traditional job.”

In the early 90’s Charles Handy foresaw all of this and we were of course delighted to take his vision further in our book showing how someone can design a portfolio career for themselves. But what is becoming clearer to Katie and me is that increasingly we see people designing a portfolio lifestyle for themselves involving all aspects of living and not just paid work. An exciting if scary future and a challenge for educators working with youngsters to introduce them to this world. I chair the Consortium on Quality Careers Standards in Schools and we are encouraging providers to reinvent careers work in schools to reflect these developments.

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