WHAT does your employer owe you? For your work do you deserve (in addition to your wages) job security, excellent health care, and pension in retirement? We have a romantic notion that such benefits used to be a part of employment. The company man was the ideal, working for a large manufacturing firm for most of his (inevitably his) career and receiving a variety of forms of compensation in exchange for his life’s work. Is this still a realistic expectation? Health care inflation and longer life expectancy mean that a progressively larger share of compensation comes from benefits. This rising expense is part of the reason real wages have stagnated for many Americans.
I wonder if this situation benefits employees anymore either. In the modern and more global labour market the nature of work has changed. It’s popular to say employees can no longer coast on average skill levels, according to Thomas Friedman:
In the past, workers with average skills, doing an average job, could earn an average lifestyle. But, today, average is officially over. Being average just won’t earn you what it used to. It can’t when so many more employers have so much more access to so much more above average cheap foreign labor, cheap robotics, cheap software, cheap automation and cheap genius. Therefore, everyone needs to find their extra — their unique value contribution that makes them stand out in whatever is their field of employment. Average is over.
Read further in The Economist
André Beukes is an EU Management Consultant to international companies doing business in Europe. He provides clients with practical business support that makes a real difference doing business in the EU. “Put simply, I am here to help you meet your challenges. I believe in the importance of doing things correctly, meaning risks are reduced and problems are avoided.”