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Careers of the future: get in; learn fast; contribute asap; complete project; repeat…

One of the few things I remember from my undergraduate economics degree is Schumpeter’s Theory of Innovation and its relationship with the business cycle and fundamental change.

Schumpeter’s work is not universally accepted but much of it is highly pertinent in 2016. 

Clearly, the current level of innovation and change in industries is unrivalled. This is leading to much discussion on career disciplines that will survive and prosper. Many get regular mentions: nursing; big data; scientific research; finance management; marketing and creatives.​

"...meteoric growth of the gig economy" 

I’m sure that’s all valid. But I think there is another way to view the future of work and that is the impending meteoric growth of the gig economy. And indeed one particular subset of this. 

Since the 1990/91 recession in Europe, we have seen dramatic growth in the use of senior interim managers. And following the global financial crisis, the same dynamic has been witnessed in Australia, although perhaps somewhat more slowly. 

Working as a C-suite interim manager is now a valid choice by thousands around the world and has become a strategic staffing option for a vast array of employers. The needs driving an organisation to hire this way can range from:

  • a short-term crisis

  • the need for a specific skills 'today' that won't be needed tomorrow

  • substitute for a management consulting firm

  • to engineer some specific change

  • to capitalise on an opportunity

  • etc

It's not hard to imagine a future where upwards of 25% of senior management are not 'permanent' employees.

How to prepare? Get involved in projects. Learn to learn fast. Don't stay in one job (not necessarily one employer) for too long. Make it your business to put recommendations on improvements. Don't be the maintenance person.

Watermark Search is a long-established integrated firm specialising in interim management and executive search.

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