The Future of Work & The Passion Economy

The Future of Work & the Passion Economy

With Youth Month having come to an end & national savings month coming in full spin, I thought it would be worthwhile to touch on the pandemic that has been gripping many young South Africans by the pockets - the unemployment pandemic. According to Stats SA the unemployment rate increased from 32.5% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020 to 32.6% in Q1 in 2021, the youth unemployment rate under the expanded definition sits at a disgusting 74.4%, which means only 1 in every 4 school leavers who are under 24 have a job in South Africa.

The Future of Work

With such glaring youth unemployment figures, is there even a future of work for the unemployed youth?

To adequately address this problem it’s important for us to remember the fundamentals of work, which is a double-sided coin that consists of both employer and employee, the fundamental purpose of work is to live, people work so they can afford a living. As we’ve continued to remotely build The Finance Gym, the future of work for us has been a dynamic that goes well beyond the automation of simple tasks and remote working but for us it has been about how people can come together and optimally leverage their human capital to do the work of delivering products/services that create shared value.

The Passion Economy

In classic fashion like any Gemini, I present a paradoxical solution for us in SA: The Passion Economy

The passion economy is a way for individuals to monetize their skills. It lets freelancers and entrepreneurs scale their businesses and earn a passive income.
~Liam Donoghue

The last decade has seen something I can only describe as a “jobs revolution”. What the youth of today considers as a job has changed drastically over the last 10 years, the rise of companies like OnlyFans & Patreon has allowed people to monetize their time in service-focused companies. Quite frankly, people are tired of playing ball with corporate and startups in the never-ending race to the bottom called the “gig economy”. Gig economy work is stressful, freelancers have to navigate insecure revenue streams which really just increases people’s financial vulnerability. The uncertainty that comes from not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from creates a destructive cycle where gig workers undercut each other on price meaning companies pay less, so freelancers have to work more to make the same ends meet (Liam Donoghue, 2021).

The passion economy rejects the notion of slaving away your time in order to earn a living, it shifts the dynamic to shared value creation. The growth of the passion economy highlights a very important societal shift, the relationship that people have with making money has changed, and people want to do jobs that give them flexibility and purpose. For companies looking to hire employees of the future, they need to be cognizant that the “workers of the future” really just want to find ways to make money and meaning in their lives. With South Africa basically being the poster boy of inequality, the need for self-sustaining growth is long overdue, the passion economy has the ability to spur a type of growth that will result in a cadre amount of entrepreneurs, administrators and adequate savings and taxable capacity for the country.

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Author: Sihle Hlatshwayo

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