A silhouette of a man thinking about the future of work on a balcony looking out at a cityscape, with the sun rising.
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What does the future of work mean to the average employee?

6 Sep 2018

We’ve heard from the experts, but what does the average employee know about the future of work and how it will affect them?

When it comes to the future of work, there is a huge number of experts, influencers and thought leaders coming forward to speak on the subject. It’s important to know what these experts think because they’re well versed in the subject and are renowned authorities on the trends that are expected to come down the line.

However, the sheer volume of information out there on the future of work is enough to make anyone dizzy. So, what does the future of work actually mean to the average employee? We decided to ask a few people to find out.

Luke Adams, a human capital analyst working at Deloitte, said he believes no matter who you are, the future of work consists of learning for a living. “I have stolen this quote, but I absolutely love it. It beautifully sums up what the future of work means to me personally and ultimately to everyone, in my opinion.”

He also said the future of work has a lot of uncertainty and ambiguity attached to it. “While uncertainty can be difficult to deal with it, it is also rather exciting,” he said. “However, this is where the next level of uncertainty comes into play as we can never really fully predict the effect they will have on businesses, on organisations and on people.”

He surmised that because the future is so unpredictable, it will force both businesses and employees to adapt to the changes that are coming. “Hence, organisations and people are destined to spend our future learning for a living.”

Kealan Thompson, a software developer intern at eShopWorld, believes the future of work will mean a move towards more short-term contracts, project-based work and career flexibility. “I think the influence of experimental technologies in the workplace will affect low-skilled workers the most, with a shift in employment trends over the next 10 to 15 years.”

Thompson continued: “Although, as long as workers focus on being adaptable to change and willing to reskill in emerging areas, the changing trends in employment offer plenty of opportunities.”

Graham O’Hara, a management consulting analyst in Accenture, believes the technology that will come with the future of work will enable employees to understand and respond to customer needs like never before. “Work and businesses will become more customer-centric as the most popular applications of these technologies are adopted by the market,” he said.

Glen Bollard, a database engineer at Mastercard, said the future of work is about moving from a job to a passion. “My role at Mastercard gives me the opportunity to both build my career and pursue my passions at the same time,” he said. “As a result, I have been able to introduce more of my personality into my role and bring my full self to the workplace.”

The future of work has the potential to affect today’s graduates even more than the current workforce. Kevin Keane is a risk advisory graduate at EY and he sees the workplace of the future as fully accessible with endless opportunities. “The callus hands of our grandfathers are a thing of the past. I really don’t know what the future of work will hold, but I believe that there has been and there will continue to be a shift in the working mentality,” he said.

“The future of work will be far more concerned with employee wellbeing, happiness levels and mental health.”

Shane Ahern is a software engineer working at Globoforce. When he thinks of the future of work, he thinks about the major role technology will play. “The forecasted advances in robotics, artificial intelligence and automation may change employment as we know it today. It has the potential to put unprecedented stress on current job markets and job security,” he said.

“However, I believe it will also lead to the emergence of new industries and sectors, which will change the distribution of employment across industries.”

As Ahern mentioned, the unprecedented stress on job security is well documented and it’s natural for employees to be wary of this uncertainty. However, PwC intern Darragh Dunleavy is not concerned about the lack of jobs. “One can always think of negative scenarios, but I am less worried about a lack of work for everyone than I am about the skills, occupations and income transitions that these technologies will produce,” he said.

“Workers will need help through these progressions. Slowing change down is not the answer – that would subdue economic growth and business dynamism.”

Finally, David Kelly, a software engineer at Liberty IT, said: “To me, the future of work is about increasing company performance and profits through a combination of automation, cloud-enabled architecture and innovative technologies.”

Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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