`Jobs Upheaval Ahead' When Knowledge Workers Take Over

Article excerpt

Financial institutions face a massive shift in employment over the next two years with 125,000 managers and clerical workers expected to lose their jobs, with the City of London the main beneficiary of a 113,000 increase in jobs for "knowledge workers".

A new report backed by the large financial institutions predicts that while backroom staff are highly vulnerable to cut-backs, there will be fresh opportunities for treasury, investment and information technology specialists.

Professor Amin Rajan, author of the study, Tomorrow's People, argues that to survive in an era of relentless competition, employees will be expected to think and behave as if they were self-employed. Staff will have to treat employers as a "customer" for their services, he believes.

Based on his investigation of trends in 350 organisations, Professor Rajan says the new jobs will go to those with higher education, "networking" skills, entrepreneurial flair and fee-earning capacity. The losers will be those in routine back office jobs, especially those who do not have skills to enable redeployment within the firm. This is likely to mean nearly a third of the workforce in banks, building societies and insurance companies all over Britain being made redundant.

They may not be able to relocate to out-of-town "call centres" which are increasingly drawing work away from back offices in urban areas.

For such people, employers have not delivered the quid pro quo of flexible working - training in transferable skills so that staff are employable elsewhere.

Professor Rajan, however, believes that many employees lack the necessary foundation on which to base further training. "They are the victims of an education system which puts undue emphasis on knowledge and understanding, to the detriment of personal attributes such as resilience, initiative and judgement.

"Those who have these attributes are thriving as evidenced by ever-widening differentials. …