chapter  3
23 Pages

The changing structure of employment

Introduction In the previous chapter, we considered some of the debate around a changing psychological contract, perceived breach of contract and the potential deterioration of trust levels within the employment relationship. In the next two chapters we question whether such a shift should be taken for granted and examine the evidence of there being a fundamental change in the employment relationship or not – where possible on a longitudinal basis. Why is this important? In the opening chapter we headlined much of the popular literature on the future of work and pointed towards some of the new career competencies that this literature assumes are emerging. It would be easy – but also a mistake – to equate this future with the ‘end of jobs’. To recap, end-ofjobs theories point to the following scenario:1

Long-term jobs with a single employer are a thing of the past – job stability will not return

The labour market will offer mainly short-term and unstable jobs, which will be split into either high-or low-quality work in terms of wages, skills and working conditions

Individuals will experience more frequent changes between jobs, and spells of inactivity

This will require constant readjustment, lifelong education and learning and a set of behavioural competencies that prepare the individual for change

The attitudes most appropriate for this employment relationship are entrepreneurial, because individuals will need to manage their careers efficiently to maintain their own ‘employability’ (a ‘status’ that allows people to change jobs within or between organizations more easily)

Social protection of the employment relationship, traditionally based on continuous employment, will not be sufficient to protect a much larger segment of people in contingent employment relationships

New social security systems will be designed therefore requiring the individual to take much greater responsibility and to share the risk (either through actual risk sharing or more expensive risk-avoidance payments) than before.