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The Resilient Recruiter

Feb 1, 2021

Recruiters, are you prepared for the threats and opportunities that will affect our industry as we enter the early stages of a fourth industrial revolution, characterized by the rise of robots and Artificial Intelligence?  

As the trend towards automation gathers pace, there will be seismic shifts in the global labor market.  Many jobs will disappear completely while entirely new types of jobs will be created.  

How will these changes affect you as a recruiter or recruitment business owner?  

To help answer this question, I asked Jeff Wald, best-selling author of The End of Jobs: The Rise of On-Demand Workers and Agile Corporations, to share his insights with listeners of my podcast.

Jeff is an angel investor and startup advisor, having built and sold multiple technology companies.  He was the founder of WorkMarket, an enterprise software platform that enables companies to manage their freelancers which he sold to ADP in 2018. He is also the founder of Spinback which he sold to Jeff frequently speaks at conferences and in media on the future of work.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [1:48] How Jeff got into the field of the work market and on-demand labour.
  • [4:11] Jeff shares the first business failure that bankrupted him. Listen to his learnings from this experience.
  • [11:25] Hear an insightful discussion on the future of work and the fourth industrial revolution.
  • [18:24] Post-pandemic near and long term effects.
  • [25:56] Jeff elaborates more on the fourth industrial revolution - will tech eventually replace the majority of workforce functions? Hear the numbers.
  • [38:00] Economic and social dislocation and its impact on the fourth industrial revolution.
  • [40:15] The future of On-Demand Labour.
  • [45:00] Jeff reveals why he wrote his bestselling book, the End of Jobs: The Rise of On-Demand Workers and Agile Corporations.
  • [53:00] How Jeff’s Tony-Award winning production fits into his career.

A Firm Believer of the Growth Mindset

In our conversation, Jeff shared one of the most significant backstories in his career: a business failure that bankrupted him to his last dollar. As you listen to the details, you will also feel Jeff’s frustration. Despite having beautiful concepts and business plans, the fallout was caused by stakeholders not getting along. It was really difficult to see the learnings while you are in the midst of the storm. As he said, “I’m a huge believer in the growth mindset… this is a learning experience, it’s tough to see when you’re in it… Everybody was saying, ‘oh you’re gonna look back at this and think it’s so great’ and I was like, ‘Ah, shut up! I don’t want to hear that.’ Because you don’t want to hear it at the time but it is certainly true.”

A lot of recruiters and recruitment business owners might have experienced the same since last year because of the challenges brought about by the pandemic. If Jeff could give any advice to struggling recruiters, what would it be? Below are the highlights:

  • Failure is critical to learning. Jeff said, “If you’re gonna do three startups and one of them has to fail and bankrupt you, have it be the first.”
  • Be data-driven but remember that not everything is not within your control.
  • The biggest variable that will determine your success is you. Your ability to push through and be resilient is the most important variable.
  • There are times that the most intelligent thing to do is to fold it up.

The Future of the Work Market

Given the current situation and that we are in the early stages of what many are calling ‘fourth industrial revolution (robots and AI)’, what predictions can Jeff make about the future of work? He gave really interesting and insightful inputs. “I will say this, history tends to rhyme…” is how he started his response. A valid point he raised: it is best to look at how we reacted to the first three industrial revolutions to see how society might react to the fourth revolution. 

For the past three industrial revolutions (mechanization, electrification, computerization) this is what was seen:

  • In the beginning, people started to “freak out” and were fearful of losing jobs
  • In the middle, job losses, economic and social disruptions occur, but at the same time, lower cost of production and greater output happens as well as an increase in the number of jobs.
  • In the end, there are more jobs, higher standards of living, and people that work fewer hours.

Jeff concludes, “And so as we look at the fourth… I am confident that there will be many differences in this industrial revolution. It will happen quicker, it will be more global, productivity increases might actually be greater, I am very confident that we will see higher standards of living, more jobs, and people working fewer hours.” 

Jeff Wald Bio and Contact Info

Jeff is a serial entrepreneur,  Board Member, Best Selling Author, Keynote speaker and investor.  Jeff’s most recent company, Work Market, an enterprise software platform that enables companies to manage freelancers was acquired by ADP in 2018. Jeff has founded several other technology companies, including Spinback, a social sharing platform (eventually purchased by He began his career in finance, serving as Managing Director at activist hedge fund Barington Capital Group, a Vice President at venture capital firm GlenRock and various roles in the M&A Group at JP Morgan. 

Jeff has served on numerous public and private Boards of Directors including Steel Connect (NASDAQ: STCN), Costar Technologies (OTC: CSTI) and venture-backed TransfrVR.   Jeff serves as an adviser to several companies and entities including the X-Prize’s Rapid Reskilling Initiative.

Jeff is the author of the #1 Amazon Best Seller, The End of Jobs: The Rise of On-Demand Workers and Agile Corporations and The Birthday Rules: A Fun and Flexible Framework for Raising Children in a Technology Enabled World. 

Jeff frequently speaks at conferences and in media on startups and the future of work. He was named several times as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Staffing by the Staffing Industry Analysts.  He is a producer of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and the full-length feature film, Inez & Doug & Kira, which won Best Picture at several film festivals.

Jeff formerly served as an officer in the Auxiliary Unit of the New York Police Department.  Jeff holds an MBA from Harvard University and an MS and BS from Cornell University

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