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Future of work nov 2018 lr


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Future of Work

The future of work is increasingly uncertain. What is clear is that we are in the midst of a major transformation driven by multiple drivers of change. How individuals, companies, cities and governments respond to the upcoming shifts will be pivotal for future economic and social wellbeing, but this is far from straightforward. Some major decisions lie ahead.

Ahead of speeches in London, Kuala Lumpur and several subsequent expert discussions, this is a point of view on how, where and why the future of work is in flux.

It explores three key drivers of change as leaders around the world view it – shifting demographics, technology innovation and the organisational response. In addition, we have highlighted several areas where new policy decisions need to be made.

The full text of the talk and more details are available on

An accompanying infographic is also on

Published in: Business
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Future of work nov 2018 lr

  1. 1. The Future of Work Insights From Multiple Expert Discussions Around The World 14 November 2018
  2. 2. The Future of Work The future of work is increasingly uncertain. What is clear is that we are in the midst of a major transformation driven by multiple drivers of change. This talk brings together several different perspectives to help make sense of the future.
  4. 4. More Jobs As populations continue to grow and consume more, many increasingly recognise the need for additional jobs to be created on a global scale. Over the next decade the UN sees we need to create 600m new jobs.
  5. 5. Youth Unemployment In countries experiencing an ‘urban youth bulge’ rising unemployment for the young is a major challenge. In several developed countries, many graduates already need to wait a decade before finding meaningful work.
  6. 6. Getting Older Ageing populations, low fertility rates and immigration are reshaping society. By 2030, older people in the US will outnumber children for the first time. Across many EU nations, over 65s will account for 25% of the population.
  7. 7. Working Longer For many, retirement at age 65 is economically infeasible. Few workers can fund a 30-year retirement with a 40-year career. Neither can societies. More countries are joining Australia in contemplating a pension age of 70.
  8. 8. Next Gen Expectations For the young there is a generational attitudinal shift underway. At the same time as the supply of jobs is fluctuating, the expectations of the new workers are changing - particularly amongst the educated elite.
  9. 9. Pivotal Questions Theses change all have major implications and raise some difficult questions on how societies should react, how governments should incentivise change and how new thinking can help address the evident challenges. How can new jobs be created on a significant scale? Should we expect full or part-time work? What will be the future retirement age? Can pensions be better structured? What is the nature of employment and unemployment? Should we incentivise people to work less or not at all? How should we, as society, value and support work?
  11. 11. Growth Opportunities With faster change and the 4th Industrial Revolution building traction, many see a major impact on jobs - creating new ones but rendering others redundant. Several view capturing opportunities to be a significant driver of growth.
  12. 12. Technology Adoption Some see opportunity with displaced jobs offset by gains in automation and AI. These include those from rising IT expenditure, roles supporting growth in consumer spending and jobs associated with increasing demand for healthcare.
  13. 13. Reinventing Roles Will the shifts ahead will drive mass unemployment or can the evolutions that replaced blacksmiths with car mechanics be repeated? Technology will have a fundamental impact on roles that are currently part of our social fabric.
  14. 14. Evolution not Revolution In the 1st Industrial Revolution the number of weavers rose as the work became automated. The job of a weaver changed but the number of weavers increased. This shift could be replicated for occupations including doctors and teachers.
  15. 15. Vulnerable Roles There is lots of hype - While advocates of such innovations as AI and self-driving cars are focused on the positive benefits, others see a very different future. Up to 75% of accountants, bankers and lawyers’ jobs may well be vulnerable.
  16. 16. Good New Jobs “The transformations, if managed wisely, could lead to a new age of good work, good jobs and improved quality of life for all, but if managed poorly, pose the risk of widening skills gaps, greater inequality, and broader polarization.” (WEF)
  17. 17. Clarity of Impact Fundamental is the need to be clear on what tech changes we are talking about. For instance, do we see AI as artificial, assisted or augmented intelligence and, by implication, how it will replace or support us?
  18. 18. Automation of Interaction Information-rich, repetitive jobs may be initially supported by a first phase of AI (machine learning) but then replaced by the second phase (deep learning). Automation may replace well-defined behaviours previously unique to humans.
  19. 19. The Health Potential The healthcare industry employs millions and shows how technology may be deployed alongside workers. Robots are performing surgery; AI advisors are supporting GPs; pattern recognition technology is out-performing radiologists.
  20. 20. Supervisor Surgeons “Surgeons will still be in the mix, but they will act more as supervisors than active participants.” They will be like airline pilots with machines undertaking the technical tasks but humans on hand to step in if and when needed.
  21. 21. Self-Driving Vehicles Many supporters of autonomous vehicles envisage a world where fleets of trucks, taxis, ships and even planes all drive themselves and there are no accidents - A consequence of this will be fewer drivers, sailors and pilots.
  22. 22. Autonomous Delivery of People and Goods Changes may deliver a GDP value balance in but it not equate in number of jobs. In the UK, there are up to 1m driving jobs ‘at risk’. In the long term up to 50% could go as autonomous vehicles and urban delivery robots are deployed.
  23. 23. Reskilling and Upskilling As some sectors and countries gain from new technology, others will correspondingly lose out and fall behind. A response to this will drive both the call for more reskilling and upskilling as well as an inevitable surge in migration.
  25. 25. Three Organisational Shifts As more companies look ahead to future resource and skill needs, some are starting to rethink how they operate as organisations. For many there are three core future shifts to accommodate A change in the tasks undertaken by humans in some fields More freelancers and contractors, especially in the service sector The need to upskill and reskill two or three times during work life
  26. 26. Smaller ‘Big’ Companies The employment pool expands with ‘on and off-balance sheet talent’. In 2008 the world’s ten most valuable companies employed 3.5 million. Today, the top ten companies are worth twice as much, but only have 50% of the employees.
  27. 27. Projects Not Jobs Many see the future organisation as increasingly flexible, permeable, flat and virtual. Companies shift from being employers and become the bodies that create or coordinate projects that an increasingly freelance population delivers.
  28. 28. The Freelance Economy The majority of us will be independent ‘free agents’ available for work as projects require. Last year 15% of working Britons, 25% of Swiss and 36% of the US workforce were freelancers - many expect this will rise to 50% in a decade.
  29. 29. How does the keep itself up to date and so attractive to the project? Developing Talent How does the organisation with projects to deliver attract the top talent? Attractive Projects How do cities / countries attract both the top talent and companies? Pivotal Locations Evolving Challenges We may see more educated individuals who are ‘sometimes nomads’ moving to the countries and cities where their next project prospects are best. The challenge here is then increasingly three-fold.
  30. 30. Projects Worth Working On ‘Funky Business’ focused on a world with a few elite “people worth employing” and a select range of “organisations worth working for.” Going forward, we may be focused on the “talent worth accessing” and “projects worth working on.”
  31. 31. Attracting Nomads As more selective graduates seek different organisations to work for, or with, having the right combination of projects, talent magnets and core purpose will be vital so that a company can stand out from the homogeneous average.
  32. 32. Future of the Company The whole notion of an organisation has to change: Many activities are increasingly being outsourced while HR is more about talent attraction. The future of the company is as much in flux as the future of work itself.
  34. 34. Seven Thoughts Given the varied developments underway, there are a number of emerging issues for government consider. Those that proactively engage around the future of work are the ones most likely to benefit from its transformation 1. Changing society’s view of the purpose and contribution of work and whether the future jobs available should be proactively spread more evenly across the population and country; 2. Supporting the increasingly freelance, gig economy not just in terms workers’ rights but also in areas such as taxation, credit ratings, loan terms and insurance cover; 3. Financing meaningful upskilling and reskilling so that every individual has the opportunity to fully retrain, and not just be educated once; 4. Having more honest dialogue on the role of internal and international migration in supporting and balancing the talent mix; 5. A rethinking of pensions to accommodate people not only living longer but also working longer, and most likely part-time; 6. Introducing a tax on robots, data and AI and the companies that gain most from their use; and 7. Using revenues from digital taxes to support a wider and better universal basic income.
  35. 35. Future Agenda, 84 Brook Street, London W1K 5EH +44 203 0088 141 | | @futureagenda