Exploring The Reasons Behind The Rise Of Nextgen Work

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Nextgen Work

Today, a growing number of people are opting for alternative models of work over traditional, full-time, permanent roles. Part-time, contingent, contract, temporary, freelance, independent contractor, on-demand online and platform options of working are on the rise. Changing lifestyles and aging populations mean people are working later and caring responsibilities are lasting longer. Technological change is shifting skills needs and growing consumerization means people expect choice – how they buy, sell, live and work. Businesses and people want choice, flexibility and alternative ways of working that build resilience for less predictable futures.

Companies want resourceful workforce solutions that help them in finding the best talent when business models and skills needs are changing faster than ever. People want opportunities to develop in-demand skills that will help them keep themselves employable for this job and the next, and they want workstyles that better balance caring responsibilities, upskilling and reskilling. This is how more and more people are choosing to work. This is NextGen Work.

ManpowerGroup commissioned a quantitative global study by Three Group in November 2016, surveying 9,550 adults (18-65) across 12 countries: Australia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, UK and U.S. Respondents included full-time workers, part-time workers, freelancers, staffing agency workers, students, retirees and unemployed individuals. In addition, in March 2017, ManpowerGroup, one of the largest HR agencies for recruitment in Edmonton, commissioned Reputation Leaders to host an online community focus group on NextGen Work with 75 temporary workers from the U.S., UK, Netherlands, and Australia.

The results were then quantified and collated in the ManpowerGroup’s #GigResponsibly: The Rise of NextGen Work report. The report analyzes the varied, new and emerging models of work and aims to define NextGen work:


NextGen work can be defined as:

  1. A new way of working.

  2. A new way of getting work done.

  3. A way of work that helps people earn more, upskill and achieve.

  4. One Life that blends work and home.

Examples include part-time, contingent, contract, temporary, freelance, permalance, independent contractor, on-demand online and platform working. The study also discovered that eighty-seven percent of people would consider NextGen Work for their next job or in the future. And demand for NextGen Work has risen consistently for decades. Across the EU, temporary work almost doubled from 8% to 14% from 1984-2016. In the U.S., it increased by 56% between 2005-2015 and continues to grow.

Changing lifestyles and aging populations mean people are working later and caring responsibilities are lasting longer. Technological change is shifting skills needs and growing consumerization means people expect choice – how they buy, sell, live and work. Post a careful and comprehensive analysis with the inclusion of all these factors, the research concluded a variety of reasons due to which people choose NextGen Work:

Boosting Bank Balance

The most popular reason people choose NextGen Work is to earn extra money, to supplement their income and do the things they choose. Sixty-five percent of households in developed countries were earning the same wage in 2014 as they were in 2005 – and the recession, automation and low productivity continue to impact wages around the world. Women choose NextGen Work to earn additional income slightly more than men (39% vs 37%) and young Millennials (18-24) are the most likely to choose NextGen to earn extra income. For many, NextGen Work helps supplement their salaries, savings or pensions and enables them to find the time and money to do the things they value most. For others, NextGen Work allows them to use in-demand skills and earn top dollars for highly skilled contract positions.

Developing New Skills

The second most popular reason people choose NextGen Work is to learn new skills. Eighty percent of NextGen Workers see work as a place to learn and use new skills. Whether formal company-driven development, on-the-job training or simply experience-based learning gained by doing, for most people NextGen Work provides them an opportunity to hone and improve their skills.

The reason for this is the fact that consumers today expect customization: same-day delivery, 24-7 retail, tailored media in their newsfeed. Yet the traditional career model is still one-size-fits-all. As people’s work, home, and personal lives change over time, they shift career priorities adjusting how, when and where they work. For some that involves trade-offs between flexibility, security, and benefits. Young parents may choose term-time work only, earning less, caring more, retirees may choose an encore career of part-time working, more pension, less pressure. And the Millennial, self-employed IT contractor with in-demand Java skills may be opting for pay rates of $800 a day for now, but when kids come along later, paid time off and pension contributions may often become the priority.

In the midst of a Skills Revolution, when 40% of employers cannot find the skills that they need and 65% of the jobs younger Millennials (18-24) will do don’t even exist, acquiring new skills and experiences has never been more important to remain employable. More older Millennials (25 – 34) say they choose NextGen Work to develop their skills as compared to any other generation. Men also prioritize skills development slightly more than women, while women are more likely to choose NextGen Work to balance their time and try out different roles. It will be skills development too that helps the 19% who feel NextGen Work is their only option at the moment, to expand their employability and future choices.

The good news? NextGen Work is by no means ageist. Ninety-five percent of younger Millennials (18-24) are open to working this way and Boomers are bucking the trend too: 80% of the over 50s say they are open to NextGen Work.

Balancing Time And Feeling In Control

The lines between home life and work life are increasingly blurred, so people are choosing more flexible work models that make it easier to manage and enjoy One Life. Finding the balance between work and home has shifted from an impossible task or guilty secret to a hygiene factor.

This is why, today the business of wellness, fitness, and mindfulness is a cash cow. Much has been written about Millennials valuing personal time, but what works for one generation works for others as well. Older Millennials (25-34) are the generation most likely choose NextGen Work because it’s less stressful and gives them more time to spend with family.

Globally, nearly 40% of people say schedule flexibility – especially flexible start and finish times and the ability to work from home – is one of the top three factors while making career decisions. For many people, the ability to balance caring responsibilities can make the difference between working or not. Both men and women aged 25 – 39 years are just as likely to choose NextGen Work so that they can spend more time with family. And while aging populations increase the need for eldercare, the numbers of grandparents raising children’s children is also on the rise. Seven million U.S. grandparents are living with a child, up 22% from 2000 and of those, about 40%, or 2.7 million, are the primary caregivers.


It’s time to #GigResponsibly. Now is the time for NextGen Work. Providing access to the labor market. Filling the void of career guidance. Boosting incomes. Supplementing pensions. Providing labor market mobility for people and business. Offering life-work balance for long careers. Nurturing learnability. Preparing people for disruption from technology, automation and globalization. Developing in-demand skills, on-the-job.

NextGen Work allows people to supplement incomes over the short-term, provides freedom to explore different roles and develop in-demand skills to be more employable over the long-term. People can also control where, when and how they work, reducing stress and allowing flexibility for Life Work Balance.

This is why people are choosing NextGen Work. And this is why business leaders and policymakers must collaborate and develop strategic business solutions to find the best balance of flexibility and responsibility. Benefits that were once tied to jobs, now need to be NextGen too – able to travel across portfolio careers whether that’s certifications, pensions, training funds and more. Leaders must enable, not prevent, NextGen Work, and must be responsive to what people want. People are choosing to work differently and new ways of getting work done are on the rise. All eyes are on the UK, U.S., France, and others, trailblazing NextGen Work.

To identify solutions that combine the choice and flexibility of new work models with the security of traditional work and implement them to your recruitment processes, consult our experts at one of the most reliable HR agencies for recruitment in Edmonton, Manpower Solutions.

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