We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work.
Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are changing the skills workers need, while demographic changes promise a talent shortage, longer lifespans and other significant shifts that will affect the workplace.
These changes raise huge organizational and HR challenges at a time when business leaders are already wrestling with unprecedented risks, disruption and political and societal upheaval.
To help you think about what this means for your business and your career, we worked with the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilisation at the Said Business School in Oxford and commissioned a survey of 10,000 people in China, India, Germany, the UK and the US to better understand the future of work.
From there, we developed scenarios for the future that reflect the various forces in the market. We call them the four worlds of work. You can use these scenarios to kickstart your thinking about steps you can take now.
This story is bigger than automation. It’s about people.
People respond to the challenges and opportunities raised by forces in the market. You determine how your future of work plays out.
Your company’s plan for the future world of work will inevitably mean a combination of obvious ‘no regrets’ actions and the occasional leap of faith. Here are some thoughts on where to begin:
This isn’t about some ‘far future’ of work–change is already happening, and accelerating.
The future isn’t a fixed destination. Plan for a dynamic rather than a static future. You’ll need to recognize multiple and evolving scenarios. Make ‘no regrets’ moves that work with most scenarios–but you’ll need to make some ‘bets’ too.
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.
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. Deep understanding and keen insight into the changing technology landscape are vital.
Organizations can’t protect jobs that are made redundant by technology–but they do have a responsibility to their people. Protect people, not jobs. Nurture agility, adaptability and re-skilling.
In the US, over one 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.
The shape of the future depends on how humans will respond to dynamics we’ll all face. Here’s where we see the push and pull of those dynamics, based on broad factors influencing business.
We’ve developed four different scenarios for the future world of work. Each is an aid to scenario-planning to help you imagine what the future may bring. Each has implications for your people and how you work, your products and services and your business model.
75% of US workers are ready to learn new skills or retrain to remain employable in the future.