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Navigating the new world of work

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The days of sticking with a single employer for 40 years are long gone and the idea of working from a coffee shop at 10am rather than being in the office for a full eight hour day is becoming ever more common. With changes in the way we work and the ways in which we seek out job opportunities, can the South African staffing industry keep up
Jacqui Ford, CEO of the Federation of African Professional Staffing Organisations (APSO), points out that the world of work is constantly changing and evolving with our needs and the technology we have at our disposal.
“Technology advances, from the advent of smartphones to social networks, have increased the pace of information sharing. More and more candidates are finding employment through social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and less so through newspaper job posts and cold calling. Likewise, the idea of video conferencing and Skype interviews – while they may be a common feature across our nation’s boardrooms – are far more recent than we realise.
“While these may seem like a minor changes, it is vastly different from how things were done five to ten years ago. This can be seen when looking at research like the Jobvite study, the Recruiter Nation Survey 2015, which revealed that 56% of participating recruiters found some of their best candidates through social networks.
“As the competition for top talent rises with the increasing requirement for high-demand skills, these platforms are only likely to grow in popularity and – given the timeframe in which this has taken place – who knows what the workplace will look like in five years’ time,” she explains.
So, the question on many business leaders’ minds is, ‘Will the recruitment of staff ever be the same?’ – for Ford the simple answer to this is no.
She explains that Millennials – or ‘Generation Y’ – will soon be the major players in the workforce as not only will they be at a peak in their career due to their age range (in their 20’s – early 30’s), but their ambition and drive has already seen many take up managerial roles within their first few years in the workforce.
“These employees offer businesses great value in terms of innovation and tapping into the possibilities associated with technology. Sometimes referred to as ‘digital natives’, Millennials have had a big role to play in the more recent workplace changes such as flexible working hours and a greater focus on work-life-balance. It therefore makes sense that they are likely to further influence and change traditional processes such as recruitment.
“Already, modern employees demand mobile access to their work applications and data wherever they are, and on whatever device they choose. Organisations are faced with having to accommodate these changes in the work environment, to function efficiently, employees have to be provided with the technology toolsets to deliver on their job requirements,” explains Ford.
Ultimately, advances in technology will continue to make things more streamlined, socially-focussed and convenient for job-seekers moving forward. While this may frighten some businesses, those who see the opportunity to advance with technology will be able to reap the rewards of not only attracting talent and skills but also growing and retaining staff.
The modern job-seeker has many tools at their disposal, says Ford, far beyond traditional methods.
“It is up to the South African staffing industry to maximise their reach and gain greater exposure to the global workforce. No longer confined to provincial borders, the world of work is growing and navigating this terrain should take priority for industry leaders,” she concludes.