Lifetime Employment “vs.” Lifetime Employability

I’ve been a longtime user of LinkedIn and consulted on its effective use as a tool in the job search process.  The site is universally – across national borders – seen as an indispensable tool for any professional (whether employed or job seeking).  And so this article reporting an interview with the site’s founder, Reid Hoffman, was intriguing:

Hoffman has a way with metaphors and I liked his statement that [private sector] employers, to remain in tune with the rapidity of change in the marketplace, will need to hire increasingly more “adaptive” employees.  However, he points out that employees also are changing how they view their loyalty and commitment to their current employer.  Thus, they are always on the lookout for their next job never feeling secure in their current assignment.  And so the new contract between the two parties is more of an open “alliance.” One which acknowledges the insecurity of the other –the best the employer can hope for is to hold on to good people by helping them grow their skill sets to keep them both committed to the present while enabling them to feel [somewhat] secure about their [inevitable] next job search.

Hoffman says, “For individuals, it’s the trading lifetime employment for lifetime employability.  The company should invest in you to keep you employable, by always offering more training and expanding responsibility, even if you never leave…” Employees, in exchange, “will work to keep the company adapting and valuable and growing over the long term.”

So there it is.  The new devils’ bargain for these times.  I believe the challenge for educators is to equip their students with both an understanding of this crazy alliance (and in one form or another, I think it holds true for all sectors and not only the private one) and provide them with adaptive skills and competencies so they can navigate the waves of the global workforce without sinking.

3 Comments on “Lifetime Employment “vs.” Lifetime Employability

  1. Personally I have issues with students or graduates needing to adapt or start learning again after graduation, i.e. how well prepared are students and graduates for employment? How are students prepared while studying? Do faculty, teaching personnel and support services have the ability to impart required workplace practices?

  2. I believe you are encouraging educators to create life-long learners out of their students, to promote the practice of continuing the learning journey, and to seek original pathways towards innovation and growth, forwards and sideways. If our employers do not invest in us, we must invest in ourselves, attending conferences and networking should a door of employment suddenly slam in our faces. We need to be always ready to open that window of opportunity with ease. Haven’t we all, at one time or another faced a tragedy in our lives? We must be ready to turn those tragedies into learning opportunities or the tragedies continue, appearing in threes, as the old saying echoes in the back of our minds.

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