Future of work is something we must plan for – CWIT

21 Oct 2016

Future. Image: 2jenn/Shutterstock

As each industry undergoes its own form of digital revolution, predicting what the future of work will be is tricky, though it should not be discounted.

Work, and the workforce, is forever changing. We’re living longer, using different tools and requiring different rewards than generations before. Technological advances have already transformed the workplace, and will do so again in years to come.

Planning for this is key, according to a recent Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) event in Limerick, with automation one of the main reasons why.

Future Human

Future of work

“Massive change and disruption to the world of work is coming,” said Emma Birchall, head of research at Hot Spots Movement.

Stating that some 47pc of today’s jobs are susceptible to automation, more of us will live to 100, and China and India are supplementing workforces to a larger degree, Birchall’s warning was clear: by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

“If organisations want to remain competitive and if employees want to remain employable, they need to know about these trends and how they will need to prepare,” she said.

“The skills in demand are changing faster than ever before, career models need to evolve and our approach to work needs to be more fluid.”

Establishing what shifts are more likely than others in terms of the future of work is an activity many take part in.

At Inspirefest 2016, Katherine von Jan, MD of strategic innovation at Salesforce, cited Dominos, Uber, Netflix and Google Maps as beacons for the future.

“Work doesn’t really work today,” according to Von Jan. The customer experience is at an all-time high, with ease of service from ordering to delivery of products and services – meaning our expectations are probably too high when we get into the office.

“Think of the best customer experiences you’ve ever had,” said Von Jan. “Your car tells you don’t take this route, take that one. Your airline books a new flight as you’re going to miss your connection. At work, as candidates, as employees – it doesn’t feel that way.”

CWIT’s Limerick event sought to bridge the gap between our expectations and our capabilities, with companies forced to really knuckle down and work out how to position themselves for the impending shifts.

“By 2020, there will be five generations represented in the workforce,” said Jennifer Hoffman, director of culture and engagement at ADI, which hosted the event.

“That, coupled with people living longer, will require employers to be creative in how they attract and engage talent at all stages.”

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic