This is a world where workers and companies seek out greater meaning and relevance in what they do. Social-first and community businesses find the greatest success and prosper.
Crowdfunded capital flows towards ethical and blameless brands. It's a world where workers and consumers search for meaning and relevance from organisations, ones with a social heart.
Artisans, makers and ‘new Worker Guilds’ thrive.
It's a world where humanness is highly valued.
“The ability to work from anywhere, combined with the advances in telecommunications make us geographically neutral. However we must ensure that the personal touch is retained.”
Like-minded workers gravitate towards each other, aided by technology platforms. Collaboration is key, with individuals coming together to work on projects or to deliver on an idea - for as long as it takes. Guilds help workers create scale when needed, remain current and build trust in their services. They provide members with a strong sense of identity, with individuals seeing themselves as members of their profession. Workers identify with each other because of their particular skills set, interests and goals.
It's a world where non-financial rewards are assessed fairly in a trade-off for less pay. Work is often a fluid concept and a regimented 9 to 5, Monday to Friday working week is rare, where borders between home and work are blurred.
Technology has helped create the vibrant Yellow World by lowering barriers to entry and providing access to crowdfunded capital and a worldwide market.
It has enabled entrepreneurial companies to compete in areas previously dominated by large organisations.
But it's a world where conflicts remain around the use of technology, as people are less likely to take the downsides of automation without a fight. As more people are impacted by technical advances and see their skills become obsolete, disaffection and the push-back against policies that favour the elite grow.
But invisible technology, such as AI driven back office functional support, and the automation of tasks that are damaging/impossible for humans, still pervades.
The Future of Work: In their own words
“You are what you eat so I start the day with authentic food. This morning it was eggs from the Village farm and some chili and tomato bread that I baked myself. I live in a low-rise house with two other families on the outskirts of Sao Paolo, part of the Village eco-community.
I work for TechAble, part of the international network of organisations that supports disabled people to work and be self-sufficient through technology and training. Technically, in the past I could have been classed as disabled myself – I am a Type 1 diabetic, although my condition is so well controlled, thanks to nanotechnology, that I hardly notice it these days.
It’s a high-tech environment – I am a biomechanical engineer by trade. We see the real, practical benefits that it brings to people every day. That’s what attracted me to TechAble in the first place – I took a chance and joined early on when it was still struggling to raise funds.
A significant part of my work involves talking to other organisations around the world that carry out similar work. This morning, for example, I led a virtual workshop introducing our newest innovation, a temperature-sensitive prosthetic hand, to more than 70 small companies, engineers and entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region.
It’s a highly collaborative network – several ideas were put forward today on how the technology can be adapted for different uses – and we all share everything we develop.
I’m staying on in the city after work today as my Biomech Guild is holding an event. This time it’s more social than educational – we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary in Brazil – but the Guild has been amazing for me in terms of training, networking and just meeting to chat with people who work in the same field. I see them many of them as family – they are a very supportive crowd. I’ll stay with a friend overnight – getting an autocab home is cheap enough, but I like to count my carbon.
I can’t imagine working anywhere else at the moment. This ticks all the boxes for me – I’m stretching myself, I’m earning enough for my family, and I’m doing something that makes a real difference to the world. What more could I want?”
All companies, individuals and products described in our Visions of the Future and Road to 2030 sections are entirely illustrative and bear no relation to any real-life examples.
Partner, Joint Global Leader, People & Organisation, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 77 3987 4275
Joint Global Leader, People and Organization, Principal, PwC United States
Tel: +1 (646) 471 2377
Director, Workforce of the Future research programme, PwC United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 77 1016 9938