One of my favorite movie categories is science fiction and the attraction has been growing over the years. The reason is simple. I have come to realize that in a highly-digitized world, almost any idea can be realized by writing code. And if we imagine it, it may just come true. Allow me to write my personal short science fiction here about the complete and utter end of the obsolete job vacancy: CAREERTOPIA
Cammio long-term partner and assessment technology consultancy eelloo launched their Resource Human (RH) manifest earlier this year where they proclaimed that work is created for humans and not the other way around. That’s obviously an interesting way to look at work. It does however require to look at vacancies in an entirely different light. What if we would not have vacancies at all, but just talented people, matching on company culture and with talents to achieve a mutual goal? Sounds like the job vacancy may become obsolete soon enough… Let’s refer to that state of the labor market as Careertopia for now.
Job Vacancies are Waterfall when they could be Agile
If you compare the job vacancy with the waterfall programming methods of the old days, you basically know that someone is writing way too detailed, inaccurate specs that will never materialize in a real person doing the job. That’s why Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland invented the scrum method in development. The end goal and budget is clear, but we will basically scope out the project as we go along. What if agile and scrum where the norm in HR? I think we would not have any job vacancy text anymore: Happy times!
In my careertopia there are 2 important trends:
The current problem: Our future is often defined by our past. That is also the case with careers. That is why so many people find it so hard to switch careers. Once an accountant, always an accountant, right? But how do we deal with a future where the longevity of jobs is getting shorter and shorter? We just may want to be an accountant, a biologist and marketer in one lifetime. Any individual usually has so much more to offer than what’s written in a job description. The Job vacancy has become the reins holding us back, rather than giving structure. The bad thing is that a job vacancy often does not talk about objectives or goals at all. It is a mere summary of activities and tasks that someone wants to be completed, ignoring personality traits and talents.
The solution in careertopia: Organizations do not have any job descriptions anymore, but only objectives and goals. Our professional lives have become vacancy-free. We are attracted to a company or organization because of their purpose and want to align our personal ambition with this organization for as long as we think that makes sense. The careerpage of the organization is simple: it will welcome me to tell the organization who I am and what makes me tick, including passions, talents, experience and all. Applicants don’t need to fill out any form. They will just tell their story via video and be matched to challenges and opportunities based on a mix of cultural match, values and personality. Since so much knowledge is readily available, learning capability will be the biggest trait to select on. Based on the match, the organization will engage to try and find a meaningful role and place in the organization.
The current problem: Staffing and recruiting is so transactional these days. Agencies earn their money by trading people and jobs. They are the best sales persons since both job needs to be sold to candidate and candidate needs to be sold to the job. When successful, in the sale, there is a significant transaction bonus waiting for you and you’re on to the next sale. Naturally recruiters focus on the most valuable jobs and candidates first since the incentive is transaction-based.
The solution in careertopia: Candidates in careertopia have a trusted coach that accompanies them their entire professional life (although you can always switch coach obviously in case you are not satisfied). The ongoing career counsel is financed by a percentage of your pay slip (let’s say 2%) to ensure you that your coach alerts you when to make a career switch, when to get some additional training or maybe even a new master degree. Your personal career agent is not paid by the empoyer, but is yours and will even tell you when it is time for a sabbatical. Salary negotiations have never been easier, since your career agent will do them for you getting maximum value or maybe a bit more free time. Goodbye transaction, hello career!
For me careertopia is not that far away. It is a world in which we are recognized for who we are and not just for what we have done. Technology to facilitate this already exists. We just need to free ourselves from the notion that work is about job vacancies and transactions. Work is about meaningful relationships and alignment of goals. Let’s make the future happen and welcome careertopia!