Do careers have a future?


At the launch event for a new series of CIPD essays, Future of Careers, Helen Wilkinson founder of Genderquake - among other leading commentators - will share her vision of the future scenario of the career.

She believes that if large organisations don't work to engage talented workers and harness their knowledge and creativity through career structures, the consequences for individuals, organisations and the national economy could be catastrophic.

She says, "If progress isn't made, the dominant work culture will be distrustful and anti-careerist, with individuals no longer having the confidence to look to government or large scale organisations to take care of their career and training needs. The economy will be divided into two parallel business cultures - the culture of large-scale structured organisations and a DIY culture of self-interest".

Wilkinson believes that the people who once aspired to work in a large organisation with a career for life, will by 2050 aspire to membership of the DIY economy - living off their wits and know how, and wholly dependent on themselves. This intelligent group of 'e-lancers', will be sought after as organisations become increasingly dependent on their expertise.

"The knowledge ecology of large organisations, will not help deliver creativity or innovation but will be fragmented and ultimately uncompetitive. The 'e-lancers' will view their large client organisations in self-interested terms, not thinking twice about working for a rival the next day. Knowledge will be consistently leaking out of organisations", argues Wilkinson.

Richard Donkin, journalist and author of Blood, Sweat and Tears: the evolution of work, will also give his prediction for the future of the career. He envisages a world in 2020 where the concept of career has fused more closely with that of lifestyle. Today's world where working lives consist of fixed hours and permanent contracts, will be replaced by annualised hours working, and sector pay agreements. He says, "Full time permanent employment will no longer be the holy grail of the European worker".

He continues, "People will rarely use the word 'career', and when they do it won't be in the singular context used in the 20th century. You will have parallel careers, careers that interlink and careers that end, and new careers that start mid-way through your lifetime. The old career suggested continuity and vocation, the new one is in some cases of limited duration."

Other speakers at the launch and contributors to the report include Ralph Tribe, Vice-President Human Resources at Getty Images; John Mockler, Head of Human Resources, Tate; Wendy Hirsh, independent consultant and researcher and co-author of Planning your Own Career and Bruce Tulgan Founder of Rainmaker Thinking and author of Winning the Talent War and Managing Generation X.

At the launch, Bruce Tulgan, via video, will share what he believes to be the main challenge for employers over the next decade. He says, "Successful organisations in the future will not limit their options and will create more ways to employ people, using a mix of contractors, employees, part timers and some-timers".

The Future of Careers is being launched on Tuesday 28 May 2002 at the Trafalgar Square Hilton, 1330 - 1700 followed by a drinks reception. For a press pass to the event or a copy of the report, please contact Nicola Pierce or e-mail [email protected]