New Work, automation, digitization: The structures of our Working world are in transition. The result is new forms of work and changeable employment biographies that offer opportunities and risks. But also the Education must change.


New work is such a trendy buzzword that many people use, and they don't at all clear is what is behind it. Because the structures of our working world are changing decisively as a result of digitization and globalization. The consequences are new forms of work and changeable employment biographies, in which both opportunities and risks lie. The classic career path is being replaced by lifelong learning. How should politics and Society to react to that?

As part of a research project of the foundation new responsibility with the title “Politics of Work” I was e.g. invited as a discussant to a panel of experts. Objective of the project is for politics, employers and trade unions ideas, to develop concepts and recommendations for action for the change in the world of work. The stiftung new responsibility eV sees itself as a participatory think tank. In order to develop new ideas and solutions to the most important socio-political challenges, it brings forward thinkers and practitioners from different areas and disciplines to one table.

Experts' meetings with Ursula Engelen-Kefer

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Also took part in the expert panel Dr. Ursula Engelen-Kefer, former chairwoman of the German trade union federation and lecturer at the University the Federal Employment Agency, Dr. Agnes Dietzen of the Department of Competence Development at the Federal Institute for Vocational Training, and Dr. Stephan Pfisterer, Head of Educational Policy and Labor Market at BITKOM.

Under the moderation of Dr. Sonja Mönkedieck, Fellow of the foundation of new responsibility, we discussed the pros and cons of competence-based work, as many digital workers already live today, compared to traditional, clear job profiles with fixed training structures.

The difficulty with new job titles

Here, people who change their jobs often and autodidactically continue to look, yes gladly looked at, because they still fall through the rendezvous - I have already written here. Classic career paths also raise a number of problems, which is probably familiar to anyone who has already been looking for a job.

Because the popular Method, in the job board of Choice Entering a search term and then having the appropriate result spat out may be practical – but it falls short. As a rule, many job seekers do not find the jobs that match their skills because it is often difficult to guess which one Term there is a job that exactly matches their qualifications.

What are companies looking for?

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A good example came across me a while ago: They were looking for someone who would do organizational work for the management Tasks im Office done, sort of go-anywhere kind of thing. In the past, in times of classic professions, one would probably have said secretary. Today, however, that person should also use Twitter, Facebook, Xing, etc. “on the side”.

So was the job advertised as Social Media Manager? Or by one of the more traditional designations: executive assistant, project manager, project coordinator, Employees HR or Accounting? No. Since it is a non-profit Organization and the wanted person should also coordinate the collection of donations, the position as a fundraiser was advertised. Just Honestly: Who would have thought of that?

85% want better job findability

According to a survey by the job exchange, 85% of those questioned would like to have a job Candidate better findability of jobs. Among the suggestions for improvement, clearer language and more precise task descriptions and requirement profiles were mentioned again and again. This is difficult because, due to technical progress, the areas of responsibility are changing faster these days than the job titles or training and further education.

I remember that Professor a Hamburg university that trained journalists and admitted to me that he didn't know what to teach the students - today they were learning app development, but you don't know whether that's still going to be in demand in the publishers tomorrow. And employers are often at a loss because they don't even know how to advertise a job useful to title.

Digital Worker on competence-based job search

No wonder many Transformation workers other Solutions seek. As well as Regine Heidorn, which have several courses and a IT-Vocational Training has canceled and without any formal qualification for years successfully works as a programmer. She has another, very efficient platform to Job Search Found: Twitter. Here she is successful as a bit boutique and is in constant contact with her Network and tweet about their hobbies and interests.

For example, she tweeted about her hobby, geocaching; this resulted in a dialogue on Twitter, and she eventually got a teaching position at a university. As she herself says, she never thought she would be asked with this qualification. In this way, Regine finds jobs that match her abilities exactly and where it is not the purely formal qualification that counts, but the actual abilities. But she also says herself: She doesn't even need to respond to job advertisements that only ask about formal qualifications apply.

People instead of degrees: what does politics say?

For me, this is where the advantages of competence-based work lie: The focus is on people, not formal qualifications and the Curriculum vitae. Of course, the skills have to be right. And Regine's example also shows the advantages of this Internet here offers: fast and easily find like-minded people on a wide variety of topics.

However, the change in the world of work is not a new phenomenon, as Ursula Engelen-Kefer made clear in the discussion of our panel of experts: For example, 1969 already had a paradigm shift in the continuing education landscape in Germany - due to the structural crisis in mining. At that time, the Arbeitsförderungsgesetz had begun to actively promote the unemployed through further education measures.

Learning must be fundamental

And it is precisely there, in education, that Engelen-Kefer sees the decisive means, that Problem to solve. Learning must change fundamentally, away from the idea of ​​"I go into a classroom" to a competence-based one Further Training. And away from the life concept of training – Job – Retirement, towards lifelong learning as a way of life, as is already practiced by a minority today; but with which the general public is still struggling.

The continuing education landscape must therefore be fundamentally restructured, and aspects such as the excessive demands of the People, social Expertise and teamwork should be considered. According to Engelen-Kefer, exercising power by withholding information is a thing of the past. So she puts her hope in the Boy Generation. As the second part of the article, which I will publish tomorrow, will show, they have of course long since recognized the problem and have also developed initial approaches to a solution. However, there is still a huge problem with that Implementation.

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