Lastest news

The future of work

Aug 30, 2018
By Valarie Daunt

What could work look like tomorrow? What will our children be doing when they enter the workforce? These are questions many people are asking as we face new realities and an uncertain future that forces organisations to rethink the nature of work itself.

The future of work and the workforce are facing dramatic change driven by technology, globalisation, changing demographics, social values, and the changing personal expectations of workforce participants - in particular, millennials. While it's easy to look at the headlines and focus on job loss and social unrest, the reality is that organisations can now leverage technology to reshape work, workers and jobs.

This new future provides us with endless opportunity; opportunities to increase the value of jobs by focusing on those roles that require skills that are unique to humans. The future of work is people and so, people must be empowered to do what they do best: think creatively; use emotional intelligence; make value judgements; communicate; share wisdom; teach; and collaborate cross-culturally. All of these skills are unique to humans and are inherent to us.

However these attributes are often the ones that go amiss when we consider our workforce plans, our talent acquisition criteria, our performance measurement, and our management of talent. Organisations that will be successful in the future will centre their people strategies on developing these human skills while leveraging the technology available to bring the best of both to roles and jobs.

Artificial intelligence (AI) enables us to think differently about how we construct work. In fact, creating good jobs that play to our strengths as social beings is necessary if we are to realise AI's latent potential and break us out of the persistent period of low productivity growth that we are experiencing today. Our goal must be to construct work in such a way that digital behaviours are blended with human behaviours, increasing accuracy and effectiveness while creating space for humans to identify the unusual and build new knowledge, resulting in solutions that are superior to those that digital or human behaviour would create in isolation.

As machines do more of what was once human, companies and people who thrive will not be those who guess correctly at the next narrow skillsets and series of processes, but those who envision work as a set of complementary behaviours concentrated on addressing a problem. Organisations that make the most of technology, realise the productivity (and, consequently, quality of life) improvements it promises, and opportunities it delivers for operational efficiency, must choose to create good jobs - jobs that:

  • Make the most of our human nature as social problem identifiers and solvers;
  • Are productive and sustainable for organisations;
  • Have an employee-employer relationship aligned with social norms; and
  • Support learning by doing, providing for the worker's personal development, for the improvement of the organisation, and for the wealth of the community as a whole.
The question, then, is: what do we want these jobs of the future to look like?

Valarie Daunt is Partner, Human Capital, at Deloitte.You can now register for Deloitte’s Future of Work Summit 2018, which will be held on 11 September in the Aviva Stadium, where Valarie will be joined by future of work experts to guide you through the changes ahead and how to prepare your organisation for them.