The Workplace of the Future

We often ask children what they want to be when they grow up. I have no idea what my answer was when I was a kid – some people have memories of wanting to be a doctor or fireman but I was in high school before I decided and then I changed my mind 100 times in university. But odds are higher that kids will get it wrong if you ask them that question today — would you believe that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 may not have been invented yet?

That’s just fascinating really. As we look to the future, there are some work-related trends that are starting to take shape:

  • The ‘Gig Economy’: in this type of economy, the work goes to the people rather than the people coming to the work. You can already see the trend beginning to form with people who travel full time while working remotely, more people working from home, flexible schedules, companies moving into global workforces where experts are more affordable, etc. In this economy, information technology will be used to match people to jobs and the people with the best skills will be the most sought after. Intuit did a study in 2017 and found that 34% of US workers are independent contractors. That percentage is expected to increase to 43% by 2020.
  • The predictions that computers will take over the world aren’t likely to happen. But Forrester predicts that in 2019 10% of U.S. jobs will be lost to automation. Three percent of today’s jobs will be created by automation but the jobs that are created will be vastly different than the jobs that are replaced. We’ll see automation in many forms but including voice recognition and ‘chatbots’, analytics to automatically find problems and solve them, digital workers, the internet of things, and others.
  • One in 5 workers are in occupations that will shrink but only 1 in 10 workers are in occupations that are expected to grow.

All of this means that today’s workers and students would benefit from a little planning ahead. What skill-sets are going to be most necessary in the world of the future? What can you do to ensure you’re ready to meet the challenge? You knew this was coming, but a career in data is a good bet! Data scientists, data analysts, data engineers, etc. are all expected to drastically increase in demand over the next few years. The percentage varies depending on what research you look at but there is no doubt demand is growing fast.

Regardless of the degree or job you choose, two of the main skills we’ll need for the future are adaptability and empathy. Adaptability because the world is changing quickly and we need to be able to respond to those changes. And empathy because computers of the world will be hard pressed to master this. The human element is still key.

The chart below comes from and shows skills they believe will be in demand in the future:

Skills in Demand

What other workplace trends are you seeing? Can you see impacts of this trend in your local politics or personal views?

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