Changing Futures

It’s all gonna be different in the future. This future of work.

You may have seen the recently published UKCES report on ‘The Future of Work – Jobs and Skills in 2030’, which analysed those trends that are already shaping our labour market, and then attempts to predict what this might mean for the workplace of 2030.

However difficult it might be to predict the future, it is an inescapable conclusion that the world we live in and the world we work in is changing, will change, has already changed. And it happened, is happening, fast. For those of us who remember when fax machines were new and exciting, and what it was like to work on a desk that didn’t have a PC on it, it is easy to forget just how much has actually changed over such a small time period. We now get excited at the latest bit of tech, the shiny new device, and then rapidly get used to it and incorporate it into our lives without further thought.

It’s hard this predicting the future thing. There is only so much that can be said with any sort of certainty. But we do know some of the trends. Demographic change, societal change, economic change, increasing globalisation and fluidity, multi-generations, the shrinking middle, flexibility….

And, of course, technology.

We can now work anywhere, anywhen. We are constantly connected. Technology is ever present in everything that we do, whether it is at home or at work – or indeed the blurring of the two. Artificial intelligence, increasing automation and digitalisation, nanotechnology, cognitive assistants. These things are coming, and will become mainstream. We will incorporate them into the everyday, just like we did the tablet, the app, the smart phone. And then we will wonder what we did without them.

These future of work, future of world trends have huge implications for organisations, employers and individuals alike. They also have huge implications for HR professionals everywhere. We are going to have to have the right HR technology to meet the needs of the changing future of work, and take the lead in developing the right, future focused and future proofed, skills within our workforce. Whilst talk of ‘the right skills’ means unequivocally technology skills, it also means the right capabilities and soft skills to prepare for and adapt to this future of work. As the Future of Work report says, technological growth makes ‘continuous adaption of skill sets absolutely fundamental for successful participation in the labour market. More so than ever before, individuals that are not willing or able to do this will face being left behind.’

There are no certainties, no definitive solutions, no one size fits all approach.

Change is coming and we must be ready for it, whatever it brings.

Next week I am at HR Tech Europe, and will be blogging and tweeting from the event. Follow the hashtag #hrtecheurope to get all the content straight to your timeline.