A database enigmatically named Monster Board is currently the Internet’s most popular means of finding work.6 Its twin pools of job seekers and job openings are diluted by dozens of rival marketplaces; nevertheless, it is indisputably useful, attracting nearly two million visitors a month. But the service it performs – matching employers and candidates – is becoming an anachronism. The world is drifting inexorably towards fragmented employment, with individuals shouldering the costs and time required to find work and then juggling any competing requirements. An online facility for putting the two sides together in this ever-splintering marketplace would have to be far more exacting than any existing job matching service. PeopleBank, the UK Internet employment matching service offers probably the most sophisticated programming for matching employers and potential workers but, even so, does not foresee a future trading in short-term work contracts as a low-cost automated service.7 ‘I couldn’t see us getting into temporary work placements unless it was with the involvement of a major agency’, says Bill Shipton, MD of PeopleBank, ‘the administration and vetting would be too complex’.8 Guaranteed Electronic Markets could of course crack this problem and embrace the new reality of work, offering increased stability for an evolving workforce. Fifty years ago it was firms who largely absorbed the risks and cycles of business, shielding employees from the ravages of each downturn. In today’s marketplace, profitability frequently survives a slowdown in demand: it is the workforce who immediately suffer the consequences. Individuals seeking a flow of customers for their services, rather than the erstwhile security of life on a single payroll, is the way of the future.
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