Metamorphosis of work

23, May

5 ideas to take advantage of the opportunities of a different labor market By Martin Padulla for ...

5 ideas to take advantage of the opportunities of a different labor market

By Martin Padulla for staffingamericalatina

Work is not what it used to be, says my friend Albert Cañigueral in his latest book, and he is right.

Neither is it what it used to be nor has it gone from one single format to another. Work today is a social phenomenon that wears different clothes and offers a range of very interesting options for different stages of our lives. Work has undergone a true metamorphosis; it is not about the future, it is about a correct reading of the present.

We live very differently than we did in the first half of the 20th century. It is natural that we do not work as they did, although some seem to be stubbornly clinging to a world that does not exist. Basically, previous generations had one job for a lifetime, we will have several jobs throughout our lives, and the young people who are entering the labor market are doing it differently and will have several jobs at the same time. Continuing to think only in the traditional terms of work ignores millions of people. In many countries, public policies related to work ignore millions of people!

There are at least 5 factors that explain the metamorphosis:

Technological convergence and development of exponential technologies.

Technology is omnipresent in our lives. If you are reading this, you are experiencing it. Algorithms are already part of our daily lives. Exponential technologies follow a pattern of growth…exponential. In some cases they are disruptive and transform business models. Quantum computing, robotics, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blockchain and phenomena such as big data, machine learning and deep learning are changing our ways of doing, thinking and feeling. Our culture.

Population aging.

We have more time for physical and cognitive fulfillment. The increase in life expectancy brings with it challenges in terms of training, health, pensions and work, among other dimensions. On the one hand, it is necessary to overcome the most accepted discrimination, which is ageism, and take advantage of the knowledge and experience of those who have been around the sun the longest; on the other hand, it is essential to be able to retrain, learn to unlearn and relearn in order to be able to contribute value for longer.


According to the OIE, some 232 million people live, and most of them work, outside their countries of origin. Efficient migration systems respond to the needs of the labor market. Encouraging labor mobility makes labor markets more dynamic and increases productivity.

Remote work and platforms

COVID19 consolidated the organization of work remotely and through platforms. The social contract of the 20th century has been definitively broken. Work is no longer a place to go to but a task to do, it can be done in many places and for multiple stakeholders. Platforms for platforms already exist, workertechs provide services and support to platform workers. A paradigm shift.


Welcome to the era of diversity. But not just in terms of race, creed, sexual preference… but in terms of diverse ways of acquiring knowledge or skills and diverse ways of working.  Your work career will have transitions and at the same time more options, you will probably have more than one job at a time, it will be built by going through different work formats. The reality of work is no longer traditional. A volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world requires a set of flexible options to try to include all of us.

In this context, more than ever, the human becomes more important. The freedom to deploy the ability to create, innovate, collaborate, solve problems. Of course, technology is already making jobs disappear, but it is also creating others that did not exist. Seventy thousand temporary workers are testing Google’s autonomous vehicle. Just one project, one company

Solving problems, maybe that’s what it’s all about. For Finnish sociologist Esko Kilpi, “working is solving other people’s problems.”

From this perspective, challenges and opportunities should not be lacking, unless you think we will run out of problems. Here are 5 ideas that can help you take advantage of these opportunities:

  1. Define a forward-looking strategy. It seems obvious, almost redundant, but many people develop strategies with an obsolete concept of work in mind. Your career will be built in the future, not in the past. In election years you will surely receive messages from politicians on your social networks promising a job for life that no longer exists. While they conceive of work as in the first half of the last century, digital nomads went from 7.3 million in 2019 to 10.9 million in 2020 in the United States. Just as there is vaccine tourism, there are also cities seeking to position themselves as the ideal places to settle and develop remote work for a while. There is less and less employment as we knew it and more and more work. They will compete for you!
  2. Your jobs are a way to learn. You are going to reinvent yourself many times. You will need to acquire new skills, anticipate demands. The answers are not only in the university, you will acquire these skills through different formats.  Learn to unlearn in order to relearn. You will have to be the protagonist of your working career. Combining several sources of income instead of one salary makes you more resilient to change. Befriend this idea.
  3. Strengthen your network. Sharing, interacting, listening, collaborating are key words in the VUCA+C world (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous + COVID19!). Interacting with the world enriches and multiplies opportunities. You will have to enhance your communication skills and spread your voice, your personal brand, viralize your message.
  4. Migrant mentality. Migrants have high productivity levels. They work with very clear objectives: to send money to their families or to reunite with them in the place they have chosen to develop. Whether you are a migrant or not, it is important to work with this focus: continuous learning, quality and efficient time management.
  5. The labor market is global. Borders are becoming irrelevant. This opens up enormous opportunities, both to migrate and to develop as a remote worker from the place where you were born. The combination of remote work, platforms, blockchain and workertech is a real revolution. Study a lot of English!
    That the social contract has been broken and is indeed transforming has implications for workers and for society as a whole

We are in a unique moment, digital technologies fragment labor relations that tended to be continuous and stable in the past. This gives way to a diverse, multicolored reality.

Profound changes generally come from major crises. COVID19 has been the most global crisis in history. The certainties on which we build our societies and careers have disintegrated. It is not about utopias or dystopias but about co-creating desirable futures for us as individuals and for our societies from an exciting present.