Understanding technology’s impact on the future of work

What do I need to do to stay relevant in the future of work?

Understanding technology’s impact on the future of work

Extraordinary advancements in technology are consistently changing the way industries operate. As recruitment specialists, we’ve watched businesses transform to adopt technologies that have in turn changed jobs, created new jobs, made roles redundant and even impacted the way people choose to work. The future of work is radically different to what we see today.

You don’t need to look far to see how technology has already changed the world of work.

Being hyper-connected to social media has opened new ways to make and spend money. Picking up a work gig online has become as easy as ordering food to your house. Processing your groceries at the local store has made cashiers virtually redundant. And workplaces are grappling with the challenges of catering to a rising demand for flexibility whilst maintaining fairness and good business practices.

Understanding how work is evolving, the extent of the changes and why they are happening now will help you to be prepared for the future of work both within and outside of your profession and industry.

The rise of the gig economy

Whilst the term ‘gig economy’ is not new, over the past decade it has expanded significantly. Today it refers to technology-enabled work. Companies like Uber, Airbnb, Lyft, and TaskRabbit make it easy for people to find quick, temporary work (i.e. a gig). A gig can include anything from mowing a lawn to providing a virtual assistant experience.

Some sources estimate that there are already as many as one million Australians working as freelancers, independently as contractors, running their own micro businesses, providing Uber services, or operating as gig professionals.

A major driver behind this shift is a growing demand for autonomous, flexible work and a supplementary income. This is particularly evident as we watch the newer, younger generations enter the workforce.

The rising gig economy challenges existing business structures. We’re seeing businesses today integrate options to provide the flexibility that employees seek. We’re also seeing temporary or freelance workers supplementing the core teams of businesses in the Newcastle and Hunter region. This trend will likely grow moving forward. In fact, Australian hiring managers are predicting a 70:30 split between permanent and temporary employees by 2023.

Businesses adopting a new approach to the world of work

The business case for workplace flexibility has been well-established. Companies today are recognising the need to provide benefits that cater to a workforce who demand the autonomy and flexibility to be able to work, care for their families and fulfil their personal and hobby goals. Stability is not as ingrained into the mindset of the new generation of worker.

Increasingly, businesses are introducing new policy and industrial frameworks to support a new workforce.

Work from home opportunities, long-term absences and better virtual management of team workloads now complement business success.

They are also using temporary workers to access niche skillsets which may not be available through a single hire.

Growing demand for technology-based skillsets

Rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, automation software and other technologies have changed the nature of jobs needed and the skills required to do them. According to the World Economic Forum, at least 133 million new roles generated by a new division of labour that brings together human, machines and algorithms could emerge across the world by as soon as 2022.

Businesses are expressing a growing demand for technical skills like programming and app development. They also seek skills that computers can’t master, such as problem-solving and creative work. Currently, there is a shortage particularly for people skilled in data science and AI.

To address the gap, businesses are seeking professionals specialised in niche areas amongst the gig economy. They are also investing in re-skilling and enabling their current workforce. Amazon, for example, recently announced a plan to invest more than $700 million to train workers in the US in areas like data mapping, data science and business analyses to fulfil their expanding technology requirements.

As a job seeker, what action do I need to take to meet the future of work?

The key for job seekers is to adapt life-long learning into your career. Consistently looking at ways to develop your skillsets to cater for shifts in demand and technologies is critical. It will help you stay ahead of the game and maintain relevance to recruiters in the future workplace.

It’s also a chance to consider ways that you can work that might not follow the standard nine to five structure or that might not fit the natural career path for your profession.

As recruitment specialists, we keep our finger on the pulse so we are aware of workplace and industry changes in the Newcastle region, across Australia and globally.

Get in touch with our team today to find out how your business can thrive in a changing world of work or to find out your options as a job seeker.