Read: The rise of the gig economy

Read: The rise of the gig economy image

For the first time ever, there are five generations of people in the work force. Home-life and work-life has blended, and no matter our generation, we have the right to flexibility. The rise of the gig economy is upon us and it’s changing our work dynamic. So, with all this change happening now, why do we keep talking about “the future of work”?

Estee Begadon went to EY’s event - “Stop talking about the future of work”. The talk was based on their recent research around whether we have the capability to carry out the work we will need to do in the future. The research involved surveying 34 executives and over 2000 employers across New Zealand and Australia.

Here Estee shares some of her key takeaways and overlays her contracting insight to talk about how these trends are impacting the world of contracting.

More businesses are planning to invest in AI 


AI is being embedded into everyday business and out appetite for this technology is on the rise. “54% of employers forecasting investment in AI over the next three years compared to 24% over the past three years.”

Estee insight: From a finance perspective, as we reduce the need for manual processes and data input, there will be an increased demand for large ERP system specialists and project workers. This trend is already happening and will only continue to rise.

A disconnect between what workers think and what employers think

The findings showed that while workers were complacent, believing nothing will happen to their role, it will happen to another generation. Employers predicted significant changes to their workforce over the next three years.
“60% of workers have given little to no consideration to the impact of digital technology on their job” vs leaders who are forecasting “11% of jobs in their organisation will be redundant over the next three years, with 31% saying technology would change the nature of roles and trigger task redundancy.”

Estee insight: Contractors come into the workplace with an agile mindset. They are constantly asking: how can we make the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time? Contractors have insight from working across different businesses and different ways of working. They actually have the power to be the link between the permanent employees’ day to day job and the strategic direction of the business. Learning and development is based on the skills of yesterday.

Our approach to learning and development is outdated

Instead of gearing our employees up for the future, almost quarter of learning and development spend is redundant. “Around $0.25 billion out of the $2 billion spent on learning and development is wasted in New Zealand”

Estee insight: Traditionally learning and development has been designed around permanent employees and their long-term career span. This often means that contractors are left to their own devices to make sure they are set up for the future. Now that we have a more blended workforce, businesses need to incorporate contractors into learning and development and set up a more formalised structure. What are you doing to include contractors into the L&D mix?

Read more about the research here

So, what should be our takeaways be from all this?

Our work environment continues to evolve. Our need for soft skills, our ability to adapt and our desire to learn is only going to become more and more important. With their vast experience and ability to look beyond the day to day, contractors can play a crucial role in driving our businesses forward. We have the power to create something positive, transparency, communication and a progressive strategy will be fundamental to our success.