WEB & TECH / MAR. 07, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How the World of Work Will Look in 2030

Virtual workforces and super-flexible workplaces are just two developments that are expected to impact on how employers and HR will work in 2030. A report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) revealed that the numbers of older workers aged 70 and 80 and women are expected to surge due to societal changes, while the gap between employees at the top and bottom of the career ladder will widen.

Also, with the ongoing advancements in technology and ICT, ‘smart algorithms’ will take over routine tasks while mobile internet access will allow for jobs to be increasingly virtual, carried out remotely. In the health sector for instance, it is possible to see care workers assisting with home-based diagnostic and monitoring devices.

Flexible Businesses and Workforces

The report also predicts greater business flexibility and innovation in many UK industries which will in turn generate a modest recovery of the local economy. At the same time, a sharp rise in flexible working will result in changing the way many perform their daily. UKCES predicts this will mean a decrease in the size of core workforces, moving to a reliance on networks of project-based workers.

Most importantly, flexible working is expected to shoulder more responsibility on the individual. This calls for developing specific skills - besides core business skills – such as self-management, project management expertise and personal brand promotion.

Multi-generational Workplace

Another trend highlighted in the report is the one related to multi-generational working or ‘4G’ (four-generation) workplaces. This is likely to become common as people increasingly delay retirement. According to Toby Peyton-Jones, director of HR for Siemens in the UK and North-West Europe, and a commissioner at UKCES, this is an unprecedented situation. He wonders whether this will lead to “inter-generational stress and culture clashes or will this prove to be a positive tension that is part of a wider diversity trend that will drive innovation?”

A UK thought leaders highlights that “different generations have to understand each other. Fostering intergenerational solidarity in the workplace is extremely important to future business performance”.

The Impact of Technological Advancement

What’s more, technological innovation implies redefinition of local workforce’s skills. Government should then introduce the right policies and re-skilling government drives to keep the labour force up-to-date with the new developments in the job market. Older workers will need to embrace technology entirely in order to become competitive in the labour market.

Convergence of Innovation

As far as innovations are concerned, the report argues that successful solutions will emerge by combining established disciplines with novel developments, for example material sciences and nano-technologies. The spread of disciplines and jobs across sectors will encourage the hybridisation of skills which will benefit certain workers and help them become more agile and competitive in an increasingly demanding workplace.

Overall, it is clear that the technological growth and expansion will change the working patterns of the UK labour market, making the workplace more flexible and the workforce ‘virtual’. Employees will need to continuously adapting their skill sets in order to successfully participate in an ever-changing UK labour market. 

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