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Flexibility replaces job security

By Nick Easen for CNN
The project-based economy may already be with us, where people need a flexible approach to work.
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Microsoft Corporation

(CNN) -- When the UK labor market begins to show positive signs, employees usually start feeling more confident about their jobs and optimistic about new employment opportunities.

But a new survey shows that a significant number of workers in Britain do not feel secure in their current positions, despite unemployment being at an all time low.

"I still think there is some way to go to restore people's confidence, as is always the case after a recession," says Simon Baker, a stock market trader in London.

In the past three months, unemployment in the UK has dropped to its lowest point in 20-years, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Despite the positive figures, 39 percent of those surveyed online said that they did not feel secure in their jobs.

And out of the 1,800 polled another 15 percent felt that they were about to be made redundant.

"(But) people can certainly have a lot more confidence in the job market now compared to this time last year," said Joe Slavin of recruitment company Monster, who conducted the survey.

End of security

In a recent poll, out of 300 voters, over 60 percent said that job security was a thing of the past.

The lack of confidence could be due to a change in attitude in the workplace.

According to Tomorrow's Work, a recent study sponsored by Microsoft, the working relationship between workers and bosses is in "crisis."

The academic analysis of the office environment found that the "increasing desire to commit only to short term contracts is putting trust and commitment between employers and employees under strain."

Flexible labor markets, outsourcing jobs overseas, the end of the job-for-life culture and a move to a project focused economy, have also been cited as reasons for this new mindset.

Employers as diverse as British Petroleum and the UK National Health Service already have a language for this new employer-employee relationship, according to a recent report in the Times newspaper.

It is called "mindset flexibility" in which job security is based on performance not paternalism and employers are treated more like customers offering flexible labor services.

Under this system, staff need to see themselves as "self-employed" and are paid for results, not for the time it takes to do the job.

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