The future of work

Feb 12, 2018

LinkedIn’s John Herlihy FCA recently hosted the second Women’s Initiative business breakfast on the future of work. In this article, he reflects on the debate which covered everything from the rise of artificial intelligence to the renaissance of creative skills.

The biggest challenge for leaders in 2018 may not be disruptive technologies in themselves, but rather asking the ‘right’ questions: how can this disruption be best harnessed for you, your team, your customers, your organisation and ultimately, society itself?

Skills 4.0

The Fourth Industrial Revolution brings with it the need not only for upskilling, but for skills that barely existed before – especially as 65% of next generation jobs do not exist today.

The World Economic Forum predicted that, by 2020, robots and artificial intelligence (AI) will result in a net loss of over five million jobs across 15 developed nations. Yet, six million cybersecurity jobs remain unfilled. Better skills-matching and up-skilling may help capture these new economic opportunities, which are driven by better technology and data.

Looking over the last three years, the fastest growing skill on LinkedIn is ‘big data analytics’. In fact, if you look at roles advertised in Europe in the last year alone, you’ll see that demand for machine learning has grown by almost 300% while ‘big data’ has doubled and the ‘Internet of Things’ has seen a whopping increase of almost 400%. New trends emerge which challenge our thinking, but what skills do we really need?

From Audi to Volkswagen, Germany is a country many people associate with the automotive industry. However, we can see that the most in-demand automotive skill is not related to manufacturing. It is in fact the programming languages of C and C++. This trend is driven in no small way by the rise of – and increased investment in – the driverless car.

Reading, writing... data?

We have often heard that data is the “new oil” for companies, but what does that mean for us as individuals?

It is clear to me that data literacy will become a third pillar after the ability to read and write. Why? Because data – and understanding it – is not just for data scientists. In the collaborative working world that has emerged, we will all need to understand the relevance of data – what is says, how we can apply common sense to augment it, and how we can leverage that in our daily work.

The gig economy

Some 40% of workers in the US are classified as contingent workers. This trend evolved alongside the growth of the so-called ‘gig’ economy (names like TaskRabbit, Uber and Deliveroo spring to mind), but it’s not just about the Ubers of the world.

The scaling effect of technology combined with a desire for more flexible working arrangements means ‘white collar’ opportunities are growing fast in the gig economy. Catalant, for example, provides on-demand business expertise from over 40,000 MBA-level educated graduates and consultants.

The 100-year life

Human age expectancy is growing, with people routinely living to 100 years. This will impact on a range of sectors, from education to health.

The three traditional stages of life – education, work and retirement – will be less defined and the lines will blur, but one thing is certain: we will all work longer.

This means that we will have to develop our very own ‘Swiss Army knife of skills’. We will achieve this through online and lifelong learning, which will help ensure that we can adapt and have fulfilling careers regardless of age.

What do you see as the future of work? Or is it perhaps already here?

This article was originally published in Vision, the e-zine for members in business. Download your copy now.