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The following is a summary of the conversation between an American company and I in 2017:
American Company (AC): Shri, I am calling from United States and I want to know if you are interested in hiring a CFO (Chief Financial Officer)?
Me: You realize we are based out of India right?
AC: Of course, you are based out of Chennai, we are aware.
Me: Well, in that case, although we want to, we can’t afford an experienced CFO at this point.
AC: That is exactly why we called you. Considering Chennai’s cost of living, you would require to pay a CFO with 15+ years of experience a minimum of $ 30,000 (Rs. 20 Lakhs) per annum right?
AC: So here’s the deal. Our company’s value proposition is this – We will give you a portfolio of CFOs to choose from, representing all verticals from the industry from India or abroad. All you need to do is purchase a 12-hour CFO subscription package at bare minimum. Since you run a tech start-up, you can choose a CFO from a technology background and choose to engage him for 3 hours a quarter, 1-hour each month, or use up all the hours in one go. It’s really up to you. You can also choose to engage a combination of CFO’s from varied industries in your 12-hour subscription.
Me: Interesting. And how much is this going to cost me?
AC: Its cost only $ 100 (Rs. 7000) a month for a 1-hour package, and if you pay for a year up-front, we will charge you $ 1000 (Rs. 70,000). This way, you can use up all 12-hours with your CFO within a month too. So what do you think? Where is $ 30,000 per annum vs. $1000 per annum? As you grow, you can buy higher subscription packages that suits your need.
Me: Impressive. Very impressive indeed.
To put things into perspective, this was an American company with vast network of CFO’s around the world, seeking to serve an Indian company, by empowering the latter to hire a CFO, for a fraction of the cost. Being in the talent sourcing space, I am compelled to highlight 3 certainties – among many – on how careers are evolving:
1. Full-time jobs will become obsolete: Given the advent of automation and artificial intelligence (AI), some companies increasingly prefer part-time / contract positions to perform non-repetitive work that include leadership, analysis, decision-making and project management. From technology start-ups perspective – that have been increasing globally – manpower affordability is always a budget concern, hence a subscription-based options for intermittent hiring will be preferred. While this trend is becoming more evident in tech companies, it will evolve into all industry verticals.
“When full-time positions become obsolete, job security will also disappear”
2. Job security will be a passé: Companies are obligated to provide benefits like health insurance and retirement savings to employees owing to regulations by government. However, to avail the same, employees need to have a full-time job. But when full-time positions become obsolete, job security will also disappear. Employees will need to plan out their health coverage and retirement prospects on their own eventually.
3. Influence of AI and automation will be imminent: We are looking into a future where man and AI will work in harmony. Of course there will be some areas where repetitive work will be replaced by automation entirely, however, other sectors will have a varying contribution of man-machine influence ratios.
Considering the discussion I had with the American company above, one can also draw to the conclusion that work visas to foreign countries will also become obsolete. Any skilled candidate can remotely work from home on a needs-basis. This would also imply that we will evolve into a global workforce. Since these trends are already happening, the entire jobs landscape could shift into this pattern in 5 to 7 years. Anyone below 50 years of age – especially the young generation that are entering the workforce – should bear this in mind, and adapt with a mind set to be perform part-time or freelance work with multiple companies / engagements. This evolution in careers is evitable.