Workforce of the future

The competing forces shaping 2030

About the report

We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and 'thinking machines' are replacing human tasks, changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. But what will the future look like?

This isn’t a time to sit back and wait for events to unfold. To be prepared for the future, you have to understand it.

Our 'Workforce of the future' study looks at four possible Worlds of Work for 2030 to help you kick-start your thinking.  You can also take a closer look at the views of 10,000 people in our survey findings summary.

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PwC's Workforce of the future report

Our 'Workforce of the future' report examines four worlds of work in 2030, to show how competing forces are shaping the workforces and jobs of the future. PwC's global People and Organisation Leaders, Jon Williams, Carol Stubbings and Bhushan Sethi discuss how these forces this will influence the world of work over the

PwC’s Global People and Organisation leaders discuss the report findings and the competing forces that are influencing the world of work | Duration 4:15 

The four worlds of work in 2030

Innovation rules

  • The Red World is a perfect incubator for innovation with organisations and individuals racing to give consumers what they want.
  • Digital platforms and technology enable those with winning ideas and allow for specialist and niche profit-markers to flourish. Businesses innovate to create personalisation and find new ways to serve these niches.
  • But in a world where ideas rule and innovation outpaces regulation, the risks are high. Today's winning business could be tomorrow's court case.

Explore the Red World

Corporate is king

  • In the blue world, capitalism reigns supreme, it's where bigger is better.
  • Organisations see their size and influence as the best way to protect their profit margins against intense competition from their peers and aggressive new market entrants.
  • Corporations grow to such a scale, and exert such influence, that some become more powerful and larger than national economies. It's a world where individual preferences take precedent over social responsibility.

Explore the Blue World

Companies care

  • This is a world where corporate responsibility isn't just a nice-to-have but it's a business imperative.
  • It's characterised by a strong social conscience, a sense of environmental responsibility, a focus on diversity, human rights and a recognition that business has an impact that goes well beyond the financial. Workers and consumers demand that organisations do right by their employees and the wider world.
  • Trust is the basic currency underpinning business and employment. Companies have to place their societal purpose at the heart of their commercial strategy.

Explore the Green World

Humans come first

  • 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.

Explore the Yellow World

Which future world of work will you belong to?

Key report messages for leaders

Act now.

This isn’t about some ‘far future’ of work – change is already happening, and accelerating.

No regrets and bets.

The future isn’t a fixed destination. Plan for a dynamic rather than a static future. You’ll need to recognise multiple and evolving scenarios. Make ‘no regrets’ moves that work with most scenarios – but you’ll need to make some ‘bets’ too.  

Make a bigger leap.

Don’t be constrained by your starting point. You might need a more radical change than just a small step away from where you are today.

Own the automation debate.

Automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will affect every level of the business and its people. It’s too important an issue to leave to IT (or HR) alone. A depth of understanding and keen insight into the changing technology landscape is a must.

People not jobs.

Organisations can’t protect jobs which are made redundant by technology – but they do have a responsibility to their people. Protect people not jobs. Nurture agility, adaptability and re-skilling.  

Build a clear narrative.

A third of workers are anxious about the future and their job due to automation – an anxiety that kills confidence and the willingness to innovate. How your employees feel affects the business today – so start a mature conversation about the future.  

Hear more from our experts

In these short videos, our People and Organisation experts talk about what the future of work could look like and how organisations and people can prepare for it now.


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“We should remember that intellectual complacency is not our friend and that learning - not just new things but new ways of thinking - is a life-long endeavour.”

Blair SheppardGlobal Leader, Strategy and Leadership Development, PwC

Contact us

Carol Stubbings

Carol Stubbings

Global Markets and Tax & Legal Services Leader, PwC United Kingdom

Bhushan Sethi

Bhushan Sethi

Strategy&, Principal, PwC United States

Tel: +1 (646) 471 2377

Justine Brown

Justine Brown

Director, Workforce of the Future research programme, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 77 1016 9938

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