A recruiting manifesto #truEurope

this document is not my original thought, though I concur with much of the thinking. This is a manifesto from Bjorn veestra, the founder of Employer brand Insights, prior to his track at #truEurope, in a bit of a Jerry McGuire moment. Enjoy and comment,

MANIFESTO – #trueurope
‘The future of labour: The Talent Stock Exchange’

Brussel, 19 april 2012

join the conversation at #trueurope

Author manifesto and track leader: @bjornveenstra
Founder: werkenbijmerken.nl and Employer Brand Insights

The labour market’s landscape is changing at a fast pace.
We observe a strong urge among university and college graduates for personal freedom and the ability to engage in entrepreneurial activity on an independent basis. Ask ten higher educated starters or professionals how they perceive their future role in the labour market and expect over half of them to reply that they are aiming to work independently at some point in time in their professional life.

Personally, I am convinced that within the next five years, this landscape will depict a fundamental shift from ‘work agreements’ to ‘talent contracts’. Within ten years there will be a new world in which every individual is marketing his or her own talents and skills either independently or through an organized format.

Talent contract©
Talent contracts will be known for its flexible attitude towards duration, be it extremely short-term (hours, days, weeks) or longer term (months, years). It will be directly connected to the talent and knowledge that needs to be delivered on, scarcity of talent and skill determine the tariff and the talent-contractor carries the risk. Nothing I’ve mentioned so far is new in any way, apart from the fact that it’ll become standard practice.

Talent Stock Exchange©
I firmly belief in action-reaction. Following the above train of thoughts I foresee a movement in which talent groups unite in order to market themselves to employers in an organized manner. Is this the birth of the Talent Stock Exchange? The reversed business model of the major current temporary work agencies, where talent unifies and markets itself. Employers can in turn perhaps also take part in this Talent Stock Exchange.

No matter how you put it, this is an interesting question because the role of the employer brand (as an integral part of brand-management) will only increase in importance. The labour market will be ruled more obviously by the principles of demand and supply due to the pressures of an ageing labour market and an increased degree of flexibility.

Who shall access my talent?
The above mentioned matter is merely functional, and oriented on recruiting talent. An at least equally important fundament of making decisions in terms of employment is determined by the employee: who would you give access to your skills and talent. Research amongst over 5.500 Dutch higher educated (Employer Brand Monitor) has shown that the decision of accepting a task or employer is more and more based on the match between the personal brand and the employer brand. In other words: whom do I want to give access to my talent? Values, norms, culture and archetypes are key in determining the match between the personal DNA and the Employer Brand DNA.

Engage and join the conversation at #trueurope
‘Based on all findings, remarks, opinions, suggestions I will formulate an updated Manifesto on ‘The future of labour: The Talent Stock Exchange’.



3 comments on “A recruiting manifesto #truEurope

  1. I’m not so sure about the term “Talent Contract”, as it infers that employers are able to lift and lay talented individuals as and when it suits them. It also infers that talent is the commodity and not people; that the talent is being employed and not an actual human being.

    Every work agreement, like all contracts, is a trade of goods, services, monies and promises. In the employment contracts most commonly seen today, and employee promises to serve the company in a specified role, and use their skills to perform the tasks ddirected. The employer promises to pay money for this service. Furthermore, and more importantly, the employer promises certain conditions of work, and that this contract be on a rolling basis. This means there is always a minimum notice period, and that dismissal is governed by regulation and the contract.

    The result of this agreement is that the employee has security of employment. They will get paid, even if the employer doesn’t fully utilise them, if they are sick, and if they are performing below set standards. This security gives the employee the vital ability to make long term commitments themselves, such as having children, buying a home, planning a career. Providing this security to staff, also ensures the employer can pay staff a relatively low salary.

    If not in permanent, ongoing employment, and as with all professional contractors, a premium for expected downtime would have to be built into an hourly rate. Someone earning say £30,000 per annum earns c.£600 per week. In a contract situation, they would need to charge at least £900-£1,200 per week, to account for the threat of time each year when they are not in a contract. (btw add another £200 for NI and holiday pay).

    Whilst I can see the logic path taken by the above article, I see also that it has been formed as a solution for employers and not employees.

  2. Hi Stephen, thx for your comment. I mostly agree on the things you point out. However I think these are primarily discribing a ‘today’ situation. Labour will fundamentally change towards a flexible concept, which indeed is not always in favour of ’employees’ interest. To which extend and at which speed, we can only guess. I am convinced that next generations are confronted with new situations on how to earn money based on their personal talent and skills. In the #trueurope discussion someone mentioned the ideas of Darwin could be reflected to the future of labour. A really interesting thought, ‘survival’ for those who are most likely to adept.

    But as I pointed out, and it is just a thought I like to discuss, a Talent Stock Exchange could be the result of a reversed business model. In which talent groups organise themselves again in order to market themsleves to employers. Also from a social and secure perspective.

    Kind regards, Bjorn

  3. @Bjorn: as discussed at #truEurope I like the concept, but don’t think it is actually not that different from today’s practice, nor will it lead to the prospected efficiency: on the contrary.

    Your opening statement on the strong urge of starters for personal freedom is only partially true; yes, there is a desire for freedom (in Dutch; het nieuwe werken), but when confronted with the actual implications of insecure income, the lack of mentoring, etc. most will actually prefer the security and career opportunities provided by employment.

    Furthermore: I’m not convinced talent is absolute: in the sense that it is clearly definable (it’s very much dependent on the context or surroundings you let someone work in), let alone putting a price on; for something to be easily traded on a stock market you’ll need quite a bit of standardization; which leads to talent-exchange = standardization?!?

    Furthermore: a very flexible workforce will also lead to quite a bit of overhead (negotiation of contracts, unemployment between contracts, risk premiums, etc): the reason why most people are actually employed is that this system is most efficient, both for employers and for employees.
    The concept of self organization of talent into talent-pools has already existed quite a while, it’s either called a Brand (in general we think of strong brands as having the most talented people working for it), or on the other hand a talent pool is called a Temp Agency.

    As much as i’d like your shift in the labour market to take place, I’m not convinced it will be anywhere nearly as vast, or in the pace you’re describing.

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