10 predictions for the future of work

Think Progress Team

Tuesday 18 August 2015

Research is painting a clear picture about the future of working life: it’s all about more. More talent, more demanding workers, more exciting workspaces and more challenges for employers. If you can get ahead of the curve, there’s something else waiting – more profits. Here are 10 predictions about the future world of work.

1. Bring your own device

Say goodbye to company-supplied phones, tablets and computers, and hello to a wide spectrum of personal devices.

2. Choose your own workspace

By 2020, oDesk predicts that one in three people will be hired to work online from anywhere they want. American Express asks all new employees to take a survey on their working habits and using the results, decides where to put them – at a desk, in a home office, on the road or a mix.

3. Get used to group projects

Physical, virtual, status and geographical barriers are being broken down to encourage the free flow of ideas. Samsung is installing floor-to-ceiling windows in its new US headquarters in the belief that people who can see each other are more likely to work with each other.

4. iWorker

Clerical and call centre jobs will be the first to be replaced by clever computers that can handle customer questions and accomplish routine tasks. And it’s already happening. Last year, ANZ Bank employed IBM’s Watson supercomputer to offer advice to its private wealth clients.

5. It won’t only be cyborgs cutting your grass

Get ready for a truly global workforce. By 2030, Deloitte predicts China, India and Brazil will be talent powerhouses, pumping out more highly qualified individuals than anywhere else.

6. Gen Y will be running the show

By 2020 Generation Y could make up 35 per cent of the workforce. This young, tech-savvy group will demand employers accommodate their values and lifestyle choices, but they’ll deliver results in return.

7. Your boss will give you shoulder massages

Employees – particularly Gen Y and Z – will expect to be taken care of in ways most employers can scarcely imagine at present. If you want to attract top talent, you’ll need to lay on the free food, yoga classes, housing, etc.

8. Permanent jobs will become extinct

The casualisation of work will continue apace as it becomes increasingly uneconomic for businesses to offer ongoing employment. Having contracts from multiple employers will be the new normal and building a strong personal brand will be essential.

9. Pay will be totally merit based 

With increased capacity to measure (down to the last second and cent) exactly what contribution workers are making, PriceWaterhouseCoopers expects to see remuneration much more tightly tied to your impact on the business’s profitability rather than the job title you flaunt.

10. You’ll get paid to play games

Workers used to playing Angry Birds during their commute will keep on playing once they reach the office. Japan’s NTT Data built an online game to foster leadership qualities in their staff, and other companies are enthusiastically embracing the gamification of work. The future of work is all about more: more talent, more demanding workers, more exciting working spaces and more challenges for employers. But get ahead of the curve and there’s something else waiting: more profits.