The dream of every worker, all things being equal, is to put in long and unbroken years of service as permitted by the law, and retire to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
But the times have changed, no thanks to the undulating forces of demand and supply that have so impacted the economy, such that workers have been badly hit. As such, job security has become a mere rhetoric.
To survive, employers have devised several means, such as rightsizing and downsizing. In clear language, it means job loss with its attendant consequences for workers and their families.
Employers who know the implications of this loss to their productivity and their brands sustainability in the competitive marketplace have adopted another strategy to keep the best of their workers on part time: outsourcing.
Experts say the ability of businesses to attract rich but diversified intellectuals is fundamental for the future of work, as flexible arrangements will be common with a workforce that consists of various groups of full-time employees, contract, freelance talents, and others, which have no connection to a brand.
To ensure employability, therefore, employees have been urged to keep learning either at work or by taking time off to improve skills, as learning is changing from just-in-case, to just-in-time, where tools that would be needed for upcoming tasks are learnt.
President and Chairman of Governing Council, Institute for Certified BPO & Shared Services Professionals (IBPOSSP), Dr Peter Akindeju, said the future lies in dynamic employability, especially in emerging economies.
He noted that the dominant employment model will consist of a collaborative, transparent, technology-enabled and rapid-cycle way of doing business through network and ecosystems of workers who work as intellectual mercenaries.
He emphasised that individuals would need to shift from the need for career resilience, defined by distinct set of responsibilities tied to a particular career, to dynamic employability skills and competencies that could be applied to a range of roles.
He stated that outsourcing will continue to be a disruptive force in the labour market.
Outsourcing is a major economic enabler taking over the business world. Countries like China, Brazil, Malaysia, and India, among others, are using it to boost their economy. Earlier, businesses were more interested in owning, managing, and controlling assets directly unlike what it is today that both core and non-core can be outsourced.
The demand of the business world has birthed these realities for organisations to compete globally, increase flexibility and creativity. Globalisation, technological progress and demographical changes are having a profound impact on society and labour market. It is crucial that policies that help workers and society at large to manage the transition with the least possible disruption, while maximising the potential benefits are formulated, he said.
He charged fellows of the institute should serve as a voice for the industry, develop the body of knowledge through skills acquisition and be customer-centric in their approach to business.
The Head, People Outsourcing, ICS Outsourcing Nigeria Limited, Kunbi Adekeye, said self-driven performance and skills would drive changes in people.
According to her, the concept of retirement would go into extinction as employees in their senior years would continue to stick around much longer, rendering their experience and service through outsourcing.
Adekeye said: Skill demands are changing so rapidly that even when a company lays out what it requires now, by the end of the year that will be different. From adaptability to building brand, these are essential skills that workers will need to navigate a changing work environment and flourish in the next decade.