No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Beware the rise of the elite worker, says Industrial Society


According to a new report from the Industrial Society, an growing group of 'super skilled' workers are becoming an increasingly powerful group in the jobs market.

The report, from the newly-formed Futures Team, entitled 'Most Wanted – the quiet birth of the free worker', says that 'free workers' - those with talents, skills and knowledge that companies find highly desirable -are making their own demands on employers for rewards, which include fulfillment and matching ethical values as well as a large pay packet.

'Free workers' may move quickly between jobs and projects and share ideas and skills as they go, thriving on networks of contacts. According to the Industrial Society, the rise of this group is having a strong impact on the way that companies interact with their employees, but this fact has so far been mostly ignored by companies and by the government. Says the report's author, John Knell: "Free workers are unleashing a whole range of policy implications for government and labour market institutions. Our politicians and policy makers must stop promising the public a future of security and certainty that does not exist and concentrate on creating an inclusive work culture."

Key trends in the employment market which are being affected are the increase in use of individual contracts, the decline in restrictive intellectual property clauses in contracts, the growth in the importance of equity as a financial incentive, and the rise in using company funds to develop the individual ideas of employees.

As evidence of the rise of the free workers, the report says that only 28 per cent of employees are sufficiently attached to their organisation to turn down another job if it offered higher pay, the fact that nearly half of all self-employed people today are managerial, professional or associated professional and that independents working in design, fashion, broadcasting and the internet now make up 10 per cent of the workforce in London and generate £50 billion a year in the UK.

A potential consequence of an increasing number holding employers to ransom is that an increasing divide could develop between 'good' and 'bad' jobs. In order to avoid this, the report's authors say that politicians must:

  • Tackle the digital divide
  • Create a public sector which encourages and nurtures the free worker ethos
  • Support the development of new workers’ Guilds, which will protect members from sickness and economic insecurity, provide placement and professional training services and become a focus for social interaction and identification

'Most Wanted – the quiet birth of the free worker' is available from the Industrial Society for £20.00.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!