The Future of the Labor Market: What is Liquid Workforce?
Author: Anton Gakhov

02.05.2024 12:55

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New technologies are changing the world and all work processes. Some duties are being automated or computerized. Specialists in these jobs face new, often higher demands. Certain skills are becoming obsolete as 'smart machines' take over. Significant changes are coming to the labor market.
Tecedu Innovations for Education 4.0  The Future of the Labor Market: What is Liquid Workforce?

New technologies are changing the world and all work processes. Some duties are being automated or computerized. Specialists in these jobs face new, often higher demands. Certain skills are becoming obsolete as 'smart machines' take over. Significant changes are coming to the labor market.

What is Liquid Workforce?

Companies are already changing their relationships with employees, giving them greater freedom. It is clear that in many fields, traditional labor relationships will be replaced by collaboration with independent entrepreneurs. However, for effective interaction, regulators are needed—platforms that ensure connections and responsibility (fulfillment of contractual obligations) at every stage of cooperation.

Such independent specialists have already appeared in certain market segments. They are often called liquid workforce or temporary employees. They are in demand where a company needs highly specialized professionals on a temporary basis to solve tasks that do not arise frequently, such as website development.

Many creative professionals are already part of such a fluid work environment. For creative professions, like opera singers, this has long been the norm. For programmers, marketers, and consultants, it is becoming the norm today. For agents, for example, in real estate or insurance, it should become the norm tomorrow.

Hybrid Workplaces

Research conducted worldwide shows that traditional workplaces are being replaced by hybrid ones, where employees combine work in different locations. Typically, they spend part of their time in the office, part working from home, and part meeting with clients or partners on neutral ground. This trend is expected to spread.

Employees are less interested in office workplaces as remote work allows them to manage their time more efficiently. Personal tasks can now be handled alongside corporate ones throughout the workday, and partially after it.

Employers have seen many advantages in remote work. First and foremost, it saves costs on premises, office equipment, and more, as employees often use their own equipment at home. There's no need for office supplies; a cloud-based phone system is sufficient. However, employers need to be prepared to make significant changes in work processes and provide greater freedom to employees.

How HR Departments Should Prepare

As the transition from office to remote work continues, HR departments face serious challenges. The primary ones include global risks, such as political and social instability in different parts of the world. Predicting changes becomes much harder when many employees are scattered worldwide rather than confined to one country.

Leaders must be ready for daily challenges. Sitting and waiting for changes is not the right approach; they need to transform their work for new conditions now. However, the market is heterogeneous. Some sectors adapt faster than others. In some countries and corporations, existing cultural traditions are preferred. As people become freer, they create unique cultural spaces. Therefore, employers and HR departments need to be ready to work with a diverse labor environment.

Red Zone or Innovation Incubator

Here, new products and technologies are created and adapted quickly to what others have created. New business models are easily adapted in such systems, as governing bodies are ready to accept and develop them. Groups of influence form based on similar technologies and methods in various locations, consisting of like-minded individuals. The priorities of this group include a personalized approach to the consumer and expansion into new markets and related fields.

In the near future, we should expect:

  • Automation with artificial intelligence and machine learning.
  • Closure of physical offices and a complete transition to remote operations.
  • Creation of innovative digital workplaces, including virtual or augmented reality.
  • As a result, the demands on workers will increase even more. HR departments need to be prepared to attract and retain top specialists in an increasingly competitive environment.

Blue Zone: The Most Traditional

Here, corporations still significantly influence the lives of employees who focus on a career within the company. But consumer choice also remains a priority. Specialists who build a lifelong career within one corporation possess very high qualifications and are retained. However, global changes are gradually penetrating this closed world.

Specialists in the blue zone are under constant pressure and must account for changes to avoid being at a disadvantage in the future. The attraction of highly qualified workers on a temporary basis (to solve specific specialized tasks) has already penetrated this zone, and this practice is expected to expand, leading to changes in the blue world.

Green World of Self-Control and Self-Restriction

Here, maximum freedom and corporate responsibility reign. Companies in the green world are open to any forms of cooperation but expect a responsible approach from partners. They aim to change society to make it more convenient for people and are interested in the development of employees.

Companies in the green world adhere to ethical constraints and are not focused on maximizing profit at the expense of others. They are willing to consider environmental standards and often initiate them.

Representatives of this group are also oriented towards innovation, as technologies help to use natural resources more economically and reduce the harm caused by human activity to the environment.

HR departments working in this zone need to not only find and retain self-sufficient individualists but also ensure almost continuous retraining of personnel.

Yellow Zone

Employees and employers in this zone strive to find meaning in everything they do. They value fair resource distribution and self-realization. These people are maximally prepared for full autonomy. They choose corporations that pay great attention to social and ethical issues.

The gig economy in this segment has already become the norm. In states where governments have created special effective tax regimes for freelancers, HR departments need to be ready to interact with a fully liquid workforce.

In Summary

Radical changes occur unnoticed; the world changes every day. Young specialists easily and quickly adapt. Many experienced workers, if they ignore the challenges, risk losing their qualifications. Change is necessary. Those offering their services on the labor market must be ready for greater independence and continuous learning to remain in demand. Those working with personnel must learn to manage increasing risks associated with globalization and provide greater freedom to employees.