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Jobs Are Going Back to the Future

Financial Times (03/22/12) Peter Whitehead

Denis Pennel’s position as managing director of Ciett, the international confederation of private employment firms, gives him a broad perspective on workplace trends—and he has clear views on where they are heading. “We think permanent employment will decrease,” he says, “but agents advising staff and acting as contractors will increase. Intermediaries are more and more involved in employment.” Pennel notes that “free agents, or self-employed people, are already a big proportion of the work force—and it will increase.”

Pennel sees social networking as the great enabler, creating a “community” of contributors rather than a traditional “company.” The recruitment sector has a vital role in managing the relationships and the intricate legal and contractual complexities that will arise. The recruitment industry is “all about matching supply and demand for labor,” Pennel notes. “There are more diverse skills and expectations today, and human resources will be individualized in the future—no more one-size-fits-all policies. Individuals will be choosing who they want to work for and the third-party intermediaries will look at skills, soft skills, and personalities in matching supply and demand. So recruiters can become HR departments.”