Flexible roles need learning potential

18894575221_3f360f518b_oPlatform companies such as Uber and Task Rabbit that enable people to work differently and flexibly are likely to grow, according to the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership and UK Commission for Employment and Skills, Sir Charlie Mayfield.

Speaking at an Economist Talent Management conference in London, Mayfield said looking at the future of work, it is a “dangerous fallacy” to assume that lots of jobs will come from ‘high technology’ roles, but that platform businesses offer scope for jobs and that specialisms driven by evolving demand from consumers will emerge.

However, he added that these jobs do not always offer personal development and learning opportunities and that the pace of change means these are becoming crucial. “Eight out of ten people who will be in work in ten years’ time are already in work. It is likely that those in work in 2015 will have to learn more in the next ten years than they have had to in the previous 20 in order to keep up with the pace of development,” he said.

Mayfield added that we need ‘learning jobs’ and greater partnerships between the business world and education providers. “To address workplace challenges in the future, we need far greater co-operation between the worlds of education and work. ‘Learning jobs’ are the key to the longevity of future employment and we need to draw on big data and analytics to create these types of roles, in addition to developing a new level of leadership by employers, in collaboration with government.”

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