Future of work - A summary of recent trends

Short of time? Below are key trends in the field and where you will find more on those topics in the Thought Leadership as identified by our industry, research and consulting partners.

Key trends

  1. Shifting demographics: We have a growing population and people are living longer. There are 4 generations in the workplace all with different needs and expectations.

    (Find out more: EY – Future of Work: The latest EY research and media on global Future of Work trends, and how work is changing in the post pandemic environment.)
  2. Economic Uncertainty: Declining resources coupled with increasing demand create political, economic and social pressures and bring market instability.

    (Find out more: Harvard Business Review – Your workforce is more adaptable than you think (Joseph Fuller and Manjari Raman) - Many managers have little faith in their employees’ ability to survive the twists and turns of a rapidly evolving economy. This report discusses how workers are far more willing and able to embrace change than their employers assume.)
  3. New business models: Using contingent workers; renting not owning assets; ecosystems partnerships are all re-inventing the traditional employment model.

    (Find out more: CIPD – Workplace Technology: The employee experience - Understanding the impact of technology on work and the workforce is a central concern of the modern people profession, they should be present in tech strategies to ensure technology implementation supports and enhances productivity as well as employee job quality; EY – Future of Work: The latest EY research and media on global Future of Work trends, and how work is changing in the post pandemic environment; and Harvard Business Review – The age of continuous connection (Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch) - Instead of waiting for customers to come to them, firms are addressing customers’ needs the moment they arise—and sometimes even earlier. Through what is called connected strategies, customers get a dramatically improved experience, and companies boost operational efficiencies and lower costs.)
  4. AI and automation: These will radically accelerate the pace of change altering the profile of work a ‘human’ does.

    (Find out more: CIPD – People and Machines: from hype to reality - Rather than speculating about the future, this report considers how AI and automation have affected jobs and organisations over recent years, and how employer should invest and embed these new technologies; and Harvard Business Review – Building the AI-powered organisation (Tim Fountaine, Brian McCarthy, Tamim Saleh) - AI initiatives face formidable cultural and organisational barriers. Leaders often think too narrowly about AI requirements. While cutting-edge technology and talent are certainly needed, it’s equally important to align a company’s culture, structure, and ways of working to support broad AI adoption. This report shows how to do this.)
  5. Flexible and remote working: Demand is increasing as work becomes less constrained by time or place, and people balance work with family life.

    (Find out more: CIPD – Embedding new ways of working: Implications for the post-pandemic workplace. This report focuses on how the economy and job market have been impact by Covid–19. It offers recommendations on how organisations should begin to tackle the important talking points of our new ways of working: Homeworking, wellbeing etc.; and VIDEO: CIPD CEO Opening speech at 2020 annual conference - The CEO of CIPD discussing their response to covid-19 and future ways of working in a post-pandemic world.)
  6. Need for purpose: Millennials are looking to organisations to play a deeper role in responding to society’s climate, political and economic challenges.

    (Find out more: Harvard Business Review – The end of bureaucracy (Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini) - Big companies end up creating big bureaucracies, which sap their organisations of creativity, willingness to take risk, and productivity. A new organisational form makes employees energetic entrepreneurs directly accountable to customers and organises them in an open ecosystem of users, inventors, and partners.)