The Changing Nature of the Job

One generation ago, a job for life was the expectation. Now, you are likely to have several careers and at least 6-10 jobs in your working life. More and more people are seeing themselves, therefore, as self-employed, in attitude if not in reality, offering a portfolio of solutions to a willing, fluid marketplace.


In just four decades, we have raced through four ages. We have moved from the industrial age, which lasted almost 200 years and ended in the 1960s, where 50% of employees worked in factories and 30% in agriculture. During the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s we galloped through the service and information ages where 75% of jobs moved to service related industries.

Today, we are in the age of communications, which has brought us the ‘Knowledge Worker’, where brain-power is the currency. Brawn-power was the necessity during the industrial age. Now, manufacturers have found better, faster, leaner, just-in-time technology to replace workers. Farmers, likewise.

The job, of course, has been called many names including:

A job can also be viewed as:

It can also mean – ‘it’s your job to protect the child’ – a responsibility, duty, role or mission.

As organisations continue to right-size, down-size, re-engineer and re-structure, the nature of the job will continue to evolve. Better education and better technology provide more flexibility to work part-time or flexi-time, to job-share and to work from home.

Why do some people get paid more than others in their jobs?

‘The value of their contribution is different’ is the simple answer. Perception and value are huge factors. Perception is reality and value is always subjective. Nevertheless, it’s more than that. In the employability era they build up their portfolio of solutions and capabilities and offer them to a marketplace that needs competent workers and managers as never before. The consumer directly or indirectly is the ultimate judge of who gets paid what and how much.

Further, the smart executive is constantly fine-tuning and re-learning. Obsolescence and new learning go hand-in-hand.

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