The future of work is a forecast of how work, people, and workplaces will change in the following years. It’s an issue that keeps many CEOs awake at night as they make decisions that will allow their companies to prosper in the now while planning for the future.
While technology gets a lot of attention in conversations about the future of work, other issues like remote jobs and the gig economy have a significant impact on how work will be done, who will do it, and where they will do it.
In addition, employers will want to consider the nature of the work, as a 2020 research report from the Society for Human Resource Management and Willis Towers Watson noted that “85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not been invented yet.”
The world of work — all interactions between workers and employers, organizations, and the work environment — is marked by the constant adaptation to technological, cultural, political, and economic changes.
Studying historical changes in the organization of work can perhaps lead to a better understanding of the present problems. Hence, this article employs historical and current perspectives to provide a basis for understanding work in today’s world and considering possible future changes.
- Regional demographics of the working-age population are deepening: by 2050, the number of people 20-64 years old will decrease by 49 million in Europe, 22 million in Russia, 20 million in Japan, and 195 million in China.
- Over the same period, the number of potentially active workers in the United States is forecast to rise by 20 million, while the working-age population in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to triple, to 1.3 billion, roughly double that of all high-income countries combined.
- In all European countries, the proportion of persons aged 65 and up will rise dramatically. The economic old-age dependency ratio (the ratio between the inactive elderly and the number of employed) in the EU is anticipated to climb from 43.1 percent in 2016 to 68.5 percent in 2070 if current economic activity patterns continue.
- The labor force participation rates among adults have been declining for the past 25 years, and ILO expects this trend to continue, as shown by 2023 forecasts.
- By 2030, hyper-connected, tech-savvy millennials will make up 75% of the workforce.
The business sector has been through a digital workplace revolution for the past few years. Business leaders are reinventing team collaboration and communication, as well as building settings that support agility and creativity in response to the rise of global and mobile technologies. Increased remote working opportunities result from this shift toward a more computerized workplace.
According to a Gallup poll, 43 percent of Americans completed part or all of their work from home in 2016, up from 39% in 2012. And the number of people who have fully taken the title of remote worker (meaning they do all of their work from home) has risen from 15% in 2012 to 20% in 2016.
Big-name companies like Amazon, Salesforce, and American Express all have remote work policies that allow employees to spend at least a portion of their workweek at home. And many companies (including Formstack) have embraced a remote-first strategy, where working from home is the default.
AI Working With Humans
Artificial intelligence is rapidly enhancing many “human” jobs, such as disease diagnosis, language translation, and customer service. As a result, there are legitimate concerns that AI will one day completely replace human jobs. That isn’t the only or even most likely scenario, though.
Never before have we, or our digital tools, been so attentive to them. While AI will alter how work is done and who performs it, it will primarily serve to complement and augment human capabilities rather than to replace them.
Many firms have embraced AI to automate operations, but those who use it primarily to replace employees will only enjoy short-term benefits in productivity.
When humans and machines work together, businesses usually produce the best results. Humans and AI actively increase each other’s complimentary qualities through collaborative intelligence: the former’s leadership, teamwork, creativity, and social skills, and the latter’s speed, scalability, and quantitative capabilities.
What is natural to humans (telling a joke, for example) might be difficult for robots, and what is simple for machines (analyzing gigabytes of data) is nearly impossible for humans. Both types of abilities are required in business.
Machine-learning algorithms must be taught how to do the work for which they were created. Huge training data sets are accumulated in this attempt to educate machine-translation applications how to handle idiomatic language, medical apps how to detect disease, and recommendation engines how to help people make better financial decisions.
Furthermore, AI systems must be taught how to connect with humans in the most effective way possible. While many firms are still in the process of filling trainer positions, major technology corporations and research organizations already have established training teams and expertise.
The Opportunity to Make the Future of Work More Valuable and Meaningful
Several prominent scientists and technologists, including Stephen Hawking, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk, have cautioned that artificial intelligence will catch up to, and even surpass, human intelligence in the not-too-distant future.
They anticipate a moment when computers will outperform humans in all areas where humans previously dominated. Fortunately, for many people, this terrifying scenario will not play out exactly like this. Artificial intelligence and human intellect, no matter how sophisticated, have several distinctions.
People will work alongside technology, no matter how advanced it is, to improve the outcome of that job and make the best decisions possible, based not only on data but also on our experience and the values gained from it, just as they have done since the first tools were made at the dawn of humanity.
Future work will not be entirely reserved for artificial intelligence capable of digesting trillions of pieces of data in a second, but for a team comprised of both “robots” and human people, who will be able to act in the best possible way for the common good by combining the skills of both.
One thing is certain: change will be swift and uncompromising during the next ten years. Work will become increasingly distributed, technology will have a significant impact on how people work, and globalization will allow organizations to hire people from all over the world without seeing them in person.
While this scenario may appear negative, intelligent firms will embrace it. If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last ten years, change can come from the most unexpected places and at the most inconvenient moments. Businesses will be more resistant to significant disruptions wherever they occur if they have a more flexible, distributed workforce. Crypto is bound to be one of the big things in the future, as well as crypto trading is becoming more and more popular as a job which will benefit crypto exchanges like cex.