8 min read

Future of Work: chronology of tomorrow.

The Future is determined by two powerful forces: integration of artificial intelligence in the workplace, and the expansion of the data-driven workforce. Finally, it became clear that we all are living in a moment of change: we got through three waves in the development of society — agrarian at the transition to agriculture, industrial during the industrial revolution, informational in the transition to a knowledge-based society. We overcome 8+1 global economic crises since the 1857 stock market collapse. It took 65,000 years since the first language emerged until the first AI-equipped robot Sofia appeared in 2015. So, what is next?

Future of work

Skills shift.

Over the next years, the adoption of automation and AI technologies will transform the workplace as people increasingly interact with ever-smarter machines. These technologies, and human-machine interaction, will bring numerous benefits in the form of higher productivity, GDP growth, improved corporate performance, and new prosperity, but they will also change the skills required of human workers.

All technological skills, both advanced and basic, will see substantial growth in demand. Advanced technologies require people who understand how they work and can innovate, develop, and adapt them. The fastest rise will show advanced IT and programming skills and the digital skills will be the second-fastest-growing category. People with these skills will inevitably be a minority.

The importance of finely tuned social and emotional skills will rapidly grow because the adoption of advanced technologies into the workplace will be an increase in the need for empathetic workers — empathy, advanced communication, initiative-taking are skills that machines are a long way from mastering.

There will be a shift in demand toward higher cognitive skills such as creativity, critical thinking, decision making, and complex information processing. However, work activities with only basic cognitive skills will be automated. It will happen in nearly all sectors as machines increasingly take over straightforward tasks.

Still, the largest category of workforce skills will remain physical and manual skills though the need for them will decline with automation.

The fusion skills being at the interface of humans and machines are needed for an activity that can neither be done by a human nor by a machine on its own but instead only by a collaboration of both.

Skill shift, augmented reality

Workforce of the future.

Though the skills are a key challenge of this era, everyone realizes that there is no future without people as well as there is no business without a person behind it. That is why a well-trained workforce will guarantee strengthened productivity growth for our economies.

Up- & reskilling. They ensure that in-house functional knowledge, experience, and understanding of company culture are preserved as employees acquire the skills they need. Whether using in-house resources and programs tailored to the company or external learning opportunities for employees, the companies will unquestionably focus on skills that are considered to be of strategic importance to the company, such as advanced IT skills and programming, advanced literacy skills, critical thinking, and problem-solving. The other question that can arise is when is it best to upskill — during working time or after it?

Tasks-oriented redeployment. To use the full potential of the skill already available within the companies they can redeploy workers with specific skills. E.g., by dividing the tasks within a job and then clustering them in different ways, by shifting parts of the workforce to other tasks that are of higher importance or to other entities, or by redesigning work processes.

Optimized hiring. How often the companies even don’t know the true potential of their own workforce and consequently they spend too much effort on new hiring. The modern data-driven smart apps enable full transparency over the available skills. New digital tools can vastly improve the ability to source, assess, and recruit new talent. Besides, among the future recruiting trends are chatbots, peer-to-peer platforms, hybrid employment, internet of bodies as well as contracting. The latter means skills brought in from outside the organization, e.g. contractors, freelancers, and temporary workers from staffing agencies.

Decentralized workforces. Thanks to mobile technology and readily available internet access, remote workers are already common. Employees won’t need to be in the same location. This will make it easier for the next generation workers to choose to live anywhere, rather than find a job and then move to a city with that job.

Future of Work digitalization

Jobs lost, jobs gained.

Everyone who reads this is certainly thinking about his own future. Despite the overall mood is bad compared to 10 years ago, we know that everything is changing. So, if one wants to stay afloat, he/she must make friends with innovations and instrumentalize AI.

Unfortunately, we still focus too much on how we can actually save jobs instead of thinking about how we can teach people new skills that they would need in a software-enabled world. In addition to this, we must focus on what machines cannot do — creativity and teamwork, investment in education, mastering the new technologies, encouragement innovative entrepreneurs to invent new jobs to replace the automated ones.

There are jobs mostly threatened by digitalization (Source IAB 11/2019), e.g. manufacturing jobs – 83%, service jobs – 60%, corporate management jobs – 57%, transport jobs – 55% , trade jobs – 50% . On the other hand, the new ones will arise such as data scientists, who evaluate the AI decisions to eliminate any biases, transparency analysts, who classify the various types of opacity for algorithms, smart-system interaction modelers, who develop machine behavior based on employee behavior or machine-relations managers, who champion for the greater use of algorithms that perform well.

History shows that technology has created large employment and sector shifts, but also created new jobs. If history is any guide, we could also expect that 9% of 2030 labor demand will be in new types of occupations that have not existed before.

After we realize that the AI upheaval won’t aggravate the economic crises, we will see the whole scope of diverse opportunities: Machine learning will promote fairness and diversity in the work settings; Software and robots won’t destroy our jobs but supplement them; AI will create new jobs and eliminate bias and diversity challenges at work.

Workforce of the future

So, what’s the line on this?

The world of work is changing. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, digitalization, and information overload will make this shift as significant as the mechanization in prior generations of agriculture and manufacturing. While some skills and jobs will be lost, many others will be created. The human mission is to adjust the future world to ourselves while using the full potential of upcoming changes. Remember: there is no future without people.

Let´s start the rocket!