Cue the happy music! There’s a tidal wave of good news coming into the global job market, say consultants at McKinsey Global Institute.
Whether you’re pouring coffee in Dallas, trading bonds in London or trying to put your teaching certificate to use in South Africa, better times lie ahead. That’s the wonderful, deliriously upbeat conclusion of a new study by the research arm of McKinsey & Co. These consultants predict that by 2025, some 540 million people will benefit from a remarkable new force in the labor markets.
What’s this force, exactly?
The answer: Online talent platforms. Career-related sites such as LinkedIn, Monster.com and Indeed.com will play an ever-growing role in helping people find the right jobs faster, McKinsey contends, in a report titled “A Labor Market That Works.” Meanwhile, digital technology will let entities such as Uber, Freelancer.com and Angie’s List create part-time or full-time job pathways that didn’t exist before.
In total, McKinsey contends, during the next decade “these platforms can improve job outcomes for 540 million people by creating better, faster matching between workers and jobs, reducing the duration of unemployment, creating flexible part-time opportunities that draw more of the inactive population into the workforce, and improving productivity by putting the right person into the right role.”
Working the numbers in a different fashion, McKinsey contends that online talent platforms could add $2.7 trillion to world economic output by 2025. That’s the equivalent of adding another Britain to the mix. McKinsey partner Susan Lund acknowledges that lots of other factors are putting strains on world labor markets. But she contends that online talent platforms “can ease some of the dysfunctions.”
McKinsey’s projections are bound to be controversial. The firm’s methodology focuses mostly on high-skill industries that benefit from online talent platforms, notably technology, professional services and health care. There isn’t much analysis of what lies ahead for people with less glamorous jobs, particularly those who till the soil or run small shops and distribution networks in emerging markets. Social critics are bound to argue that if online talent platforms bring better living to the world’s most prosperous 10%, some of that may be happening at the expense of those well off.
Still, McKinsey’s argues that online talent platforms can be especially valuable in countries that currently are plagued by high unemployment, such as South Africa, Spain and Greece. In each of those countries, McKinsey predicts, online tools can do a lot to help job-seekers and employers get into better alignment, with the potential to increase employment 4% or more. That compares with a projected 2.7% lift in the United States, and a 1.7% lift for China.
On a global basis, McKinsey predicts, as many as 230 million people could shorten search times between jobs, while 200 million who aren’t working full time could work additional hours through freelance platforms. Another 60 million people could find jobs that better match their skills or preferences, while an additional 50 million could leave the undocumented “informal economy” in favor of mainstream jobs.
Positive change will be even greater, McKinsey concludes, if people adjust to a new way of thinking about work. “The days of joining an employer, rising through the ranks, and staying for decades are over,” the consultants write. “Workers in many fields are becoming free agents—for better and for worse. They may face more uncertainty and more frequent transitions, but that can bring greater access to opportunity than ever before.”
This article was written by George Anders from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. SmartRecruiters is the hiring success platform to find and hire great people.