A World Economic Forum study shows that a whopping 65% of kids entering primary schools will go on to work in fields that don’t exist now. These and other projections about the future of work may be surprising to business leaders and employees alike. Organizations that are caught unaware by these trends may be left unprepared to adapt workplace policies or evolve their people strategies in order to align with emerging trends.
To help companies prepare adequately for what’s coming, let’s take a look at some surprising statistics about the future of work.
Growth of New Occupations and Roles for Humans and Robots Alike
Right now, robots, machines, and algorithms account for 29% of all current work done. This percentage is set to rise to 42% in 2022 and 52% in 2025. However, this will be balanced by the growth of new occupations that require technical/design skills as well as those that rely on human traits and interaction. As AI and automation technologies mature, they’ll be able to handle more sophisticated tasks in administrative, advisory, management, coordinating, and other tasks that require reasoning and decision-making.
Increased Demand for Social and Cognitive Skills
In the near future, we’ll see increased demand for social skills like emotional intelligence, social influence, leadership, negotiation, persuasion, critical thinking, etc. A Mckinsey study projects that the demand for such higher cognitive skills in the U.S. may increase by as much as 26%.
Retraining and Upskilling Will Become Indispensable
The World Economic Forum predicts that on average, employees will require 101 days of retraining to upskill themselves to meet the emerging skill gaps. Organizations and employees who prioritize the upskilling process will be miles ahead of the competition.
The Advent of a More Diverse Workforce
By 2024, the percentage of men in the U.S. workforce is projected to decrease slightly to 52.8% while the share of women will increase to 47.2%. The future workforce will become even more diverse in terms of identification, religion, culture, ethnicity, gender, and other demographics and characteristics.
Savvy business leaders and organizations will implement policies and redesign office layouts to promote an inclusive work culture that facilitates effective collaboration between diverse teams. The most effective way to do this is by leveraging the right solutions to understand the individual needs of the diverse workforce. For instance, a leading European bank used the Humayze Platform to understand how workplace practices and physical space design could help drive a better culture and employee experience, while also improving team performance and collaboration.
The Rise of the Digital Nomad
79% of executives interviewed in an Accenture study posit that work in the future will be based more on specific projects than roles. This goes in line with studies indicating that there could be over 1 billion remote workers by 2035. Such an increase in the number of digital nomads may precipitate a massive migration away from urban areas and metropolises.
The pervasiveness of remote work will level the playing field and enable more people with chronic illness or disabilities to enter or reenter the workforce and contribute their unique skills. Right now, 14% of remote workers have a chronic illness or disability. 83% of those workers were able to enter the workforce because of remote work.
By leveraging workplace data, business leaders can better understand what these workers need and how they can better collaborate with team members. This case study shows how a multinational energy corporation improved productivity & collaboration by leveraging insights obtained from the Humanyze Platform to drive organizational change and decision making.
On the flip side, remote work is also increasing organizations’ cybersecurity risk and the workload of IT professionals. 54% of IT workers believe that employees who work remotely pose a greater cybersecurity risk than those who work on-site. As such, savvy organizations are making cybersecurity a top priority. Businesses can prepare for the future of work and reduce the risk of working remotely by:
- Organizing continuous security awareness training for their workforce
- Implementing multi-factor authentication protocols
- Banning the use of unsecured WiFi connections
The Proliferation of Coworking Spaces
There are over 19,000 co-working spaces in the world today, and this figure is projected to grow exponentially in the coming years. Since communication and loneliness are the biggest challenges for remote workers, the proliferation and increased use of community workspaces can help tackle these challenges.
The many cultural and technological shifts we are witnessing today are shaping and ushering in the future of work. Across industries and verticals, work will become increasingly diverse, inclusive, automated, and technology-enabled. However, this will be balanced by increased demand for workers with emotional intelligence and cognitive skills. Proactively preparing for the shifts and remaining adaptable will better position businesses and their workforces for ongoing success and the many emerging opportunities in the global marketplace.