Simple question! If you could replace a person with a program or device that doesn’t ask for time off, talk back and is just plain simply cheaper over any time period, what would you do?
Business is Business, and when cases like this pop up the answer is unfortunately quite simple.
There is a saying that Accounting is the language of business, and at the bottom of all of the numbers expenses are always minimised so that profits can be boosted. It’s as simple as that.
If you’re seen as an expense … watch out!
The evolution of redundancy
When the hell did all of this happen? It was only as little as a generation ago when people would simply go to school, get a qualification and go to work at a single job for 10-20 years for a single employer.
Then 2 big things started to creep in. Competition & the Maths of accounting.
Let me explain. Direct Competitors will engage you in commercial warfare on a number of fronts. Namely these are; Price, Quality and Logistics.
A Lower price will attract the same client but when their money goes to someone else the bottom line of your company is impacted.
Quality. Whether it be service or product quality is a huge issue. People know this and are willing to pay more for it, but many people are simply driven by the cost of something today.
Lead times and Logistics. The final point to the golden triangle. You can have the best product and a great price but people are not patient in today’s world. If you can’t deliver quickly you’re toast!
Loss of market share, Loss of profits, Loss of mind share, and then the accountants simply report the obvious. If revenue falls, the first action is usually cost reduction. Lowest value expenses are axed first, and the work is piled onto someone else.
It’s a harsh truth.
But these expenses aren’t contained to one or two poor performers or luxury staff like reception, office managers or assistants. These expenses are whole teams or divisions that get released.
They’re treated like a leaking capsule on the international space station. If it can’t be fixed, then it’s jettisoned into space only to burn up in the atmosphere.
In many cases the jobs themselves are required and are still maintained but are sent somewhere cheaper or automated completely.
Contractors v Permanent Positions
There is also the case of how to terminate someone’s employment legally. Maintaining a position while removing an employee is a bit of a hard case. There is a good article about this here.
However like all issues people (Employers) find work arounds. Enter the contractor.
Time and time again you will see positions with 3, 6 or 12 month contracts with ‘possibility to extend’
What the employer is actually saying here more often than not is ‘you’re going to do a short term task & if we like you we’ll keep you on later.’
And if they don’t, the position itself remains the same and they can get someone else. Unfortunately the horror stories from these environments, is that you end up with a mates club. If you don’t fit in start looking for your next job now!
What about the entitlements?
Being in my 30’s I’m going to say it … I’m a dinosaur. Having done over a decade with a single employer I have long service leave! Insert shock emoji here!
However particularly for younger players out there, who have to skip from one job to another there is almost no way to squirrel away any entitlements. If you’re forced to exit one position and you’re lucky enough to have a holiday early into a new contract, or you get sick … there’s no safety net.
If you’re not preparing your own backup plan, you simply don’t have one. Its no wonder that many people out there only have 1 month of savings in their bank accounts.
Then it comes to Technology
Having worked in Industry for over decade I know where businesses cut corners, and it’s everywhere.
Organisations rely on out dated equipment. And yes some businesses out there still run DOS 6.22 without legacy backup equipment and put the issue on a supplier when they’re losing 6 figures a week in down time due to an irreparable failure. Honestly – This stuff doesn’t exist anymore!
However there are other places which will evolve and workers are usually some of the first victims. Youth in school today are going through education as we speak and in as little as five years may either be working in positions which don’t exist yet, or may have studied for positions that don’t exist any longer.
Why you need to be good at something
There is the saying that you need to know and understand the value that you bring to an organisation.
More so than ever before the true need is to stay on the forefront of the development/value curve. Knowledge is a depreciating asset, but it is the most valuable one you have.
If someone relies on what they were taught 10 years ago in school to get and maintain a job today, they may as well not turn up to the interview.
The candidate that takes and builds their knowledge, stays current in today’s time and can solve someones pain point is the candidate that can provide value. At the end of the day, your worth is what you know.
Entitlements pale into insignificance when it comes down to planning out your future. While contracts and temp work are becoming the norm and positions are only available for 3, 6 or 12 months at time coupled with little to no cash in your slush fund, you’re not going to look very good or serviceable to a bank when it comes to trying to get your hands on a loan for a property.
Jobs are no longer safe. If you do not have a plan to keep the dollars coming in then neither are you, and the future will come knocking and expecting to collect.