Our Labour Market is Changing and so is the Workplace

By Lori Jazvac.

For many clients, the days of working a “9 to 5” office job are gone. The workplace of 2016 is where you find it – at home, on the road, or in another location. On the surface, it may seem like our clients have more freedom. Yet, working from home can sometimes lead to a blurring of boundaries between work and life balance.

According to a recent Spectator article, the freedom and flexibility of our new workplace comes at a price: greater expectations. New technologies along with the high-pressure demands of a new generation of workers are forcing organizations to change. As a result, our clients have more freedom and flexibility. But along with those perks, there are also stringent expectations imposed by employers that are forcing clients to question and redefine their own values.

As career practitioners, we need to stay abreast of these critical changes. We must prepare our clients for the changing world of work which brings with it new stresses and challenges. Clients who are unsatisfied with the workplace may want to leave their jobs due to poor working conditions or unsatisfactory management styles. Clients may want full-time work, but discover that they are more likely to find contract or temporary work. This might result in more career changes more often.

Here are some labour market trends that will influence our client’s place in the new workplace:

  • According to Statistics Canada, job creation last year was comprised mainly of part-time roles. Working-aged Canadians in temporary roles has grown exponentially over overall employment. Short-term workers could face challenges in 2016 as the economy heads into a volatile state.
  • An influx of immigrants to Canada will further shape the diversity of organizational cultures and heighten competition among talent, both academically and professionally. Workopolis reports that 70% of newcomers to Canada face barriers to finding a job because of unrecognized credentials.
  • Workers are feeling increasingly isolated from their co-workers and the workplace, which is forcing them to explore other options and seek a “values-based workplace” that aligns with their needs.
  • Cloud services and online collaboration tools are becoming the norm. Workers need to tune into social media tools frequently and achieve more results in a shorter amount of time.
  • Millennials born post-1980 are bringing more independent values into the workplace, calling for greater empowerment and an entrepreneurial mindset, compared to their baby boomer counterparts.
  • Larger companies in Canada’s private sector and government agencies are using new recruitment methods to attract and retain younger generations for hard to fill jobs.
  • Older generations are seeking second careers rather than choosing to retire earlier. Higher job growth has been reported for workers over 55 years of age.

Employers are taking note of these changes. Increasing concerns about how to gauge employee satisfaction and offer work/life balance is now a greater priority as seen by changing human resources policies. Companies are re-evaluating their retention strategies by managing expectations, capping work hours, and focusing on improved people skills to manage staff. Employee turnover metrics, turnaround time to fill positions, and absence rates are being used by companies to maintain morale and productivity. Commuting times, wellness programs, child care, and time off are becoming a concern especially for professionals with young families.

Career exploration and decision-making support by highly skilled career practitioners is of paramount importance.   However, because today’s workplace means “more work and less place”, we need to help clients set realistic boundaries, think more creatively, and make work fun and engaging. Stress management, staying motivated and energized, and honing work survival skills will dominate our counseling sessions.

The irony: This new world of work is compelling career professionals to reinvent their own unique value proposition, while juggling the changing demands of clients. We, along with our clients, need to keep updated with these workplace trends and wholeheartedly embrace the dynamic world of work.

The Certified Career Strategist (CCS) credential enhances your credibility and visibility as a career development professional. It is ideal for career development practitioners, career development professionals, and other career service providers.


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