As we experience the ebbs and flows of our shifting work economy, it’s critical to know the trends and predictions in order to prepare for the future of work and stay ahead of the crowd.

When you begin to look at your next career move, keep these seven things in mind for long-term success.

1. To reduce fixed labour costs, Fortune 2000 companies will no longer employ people outside of the C-suite in the next 10 years

This prediction from Accenture is based on the current trend of bigger companies moving towards virtual and on-demand workers. Virgin America Inc. is already planning to outsource every job they can that is not customer-facing. To begin adapting to an on-demand workplace, Canadians need to begin to understand how they can market their skills as freelancers and work remotely.

2. 40% of field service work will be done by contractors in 2020

According to Gartner, semi-skilled and manual labour workers, like those in construction, maintenance and other public works, will become more contract-based in the next couple of years. This will help to optimize costs and shorten lead times for businesses, especially those who don’t require full-time labour workers. However, it also means that semi-skilled and manual labour workers need to start thinking entrepreneurially now in order to stay ahead of the competition.

3. 83% of business leaders believe contractors are more productive (and therefore more cost-efficient) than employees.

According to a 2017 Workforce Productivity Report from WorkMarket, 82% of CFOs and line of business managers agree that productivity is one of the top indicators of financial success or failure. In order to increase productivity, many companies say they hire contractors to supplement their full-time workforce. By bringing in specialized workers only when needed, such as during a large-scale marketing campaign, companies can  plan their spending around high-demand times and in turn, use their budget more efficiently.

4. 45% of Canadians are predicted to be self-employed by 2020

Whether it’s in response to employer preferences, or by choice, nearly half of the Canadian workforce is predicted to consist of freelancers, independent contractors and on-demand workers in the coming years, according to a study by Intuit Canada. Not only does this mean more Canadians need to begin to understand how to work for themselves, but businesses need to be prepared with the tools and technology to flexibly engage contractors on their own terms.

5. 80% of HR professionals are finding it difficult to attract people with the right skills

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it’s becoming harder for employers to find the right people for their roles. HR departments often cite factors such as a low number of applicants, a lack of required work experience amongst those who do apply, competition from other employers, candidates’ lack of technical skills and not enough qualified candidates available in the local market as the top challenges. Going beyond traditional employment, such as bringing on contract workers, tapping into specialized talent marketplaces or looking to hire remote workers, could help HR departments find the diverse skillsets their companies need.

6. Millennials are outnumbering baby boomers in the workplace

According to population estimates, not only are millennials the largest living generation, they are also the largest segment of our workforce. As a generation, most millennials are tech-savvy, and desire more flexibility and independence in the workplace than ever before. As they continue to face an uncertain work economy, many millennials are seeing gig-based work as an alternative to traditional employment that fits the work-life balance they desire. Additionally, by taking an entrepreneurial approach to their careers, millennials can help set themselves up for long-term success knowing more and more companies look to reduce employee costs and contract work out.

7. Nearly half of Fortune 500 companies won’t exist in 2025

Already, 52% of Fortune 500 companies from 2000 no longer exist, and according to Deloitte this trend is only likely to continue. If businesses don’t begin to adapt to and experiment with new technologies, they simply won’t be able to compete in the modern work economy.

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