Future of Work

What is the future of work?

In the aftermath of the pandemic, organizations are getting used to terms like hybrid, agile, and flexi, and HR teams are becoming strategic partners to manage this changing world. An insightful article by McKinsey talking about #futureofwork  #remotework #hybridworking  #roleofHR #diversity #inclusion

Just like the world at large, the world of work shifts and changes over time. The future of work refers to an informed perspective on what businesses and other organizations need to know about how work could shift (given digitization and other trends), plus how workforces and workplaces can prepare for those changes, big and small.

When you think of the future of work, what do you picture? Offices that look more or less like today’s? Factories full of robots? Or something else entirely?

While no one can predict the future with absolute certainty, it’s clear that the world of work is changing, just as the world itself is. Looking ahead at how work will shift, along with trends affecting the workforce and workplaces, can help you or your organization prepare for what’s next.

To map the future of work at the highest levels, the McKinsey Global Institute considers potential labor demand, the mix of occupations, and workforce skills that will be needed for those jobs. Our analysis looks at eight countries (China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States) with diverse economic and labor market models, which together account for nearly half the world’s population and over 60 percent of its GDP.

These are some of the main findings from the latest report on the future of work:

  • One in 16 workers may have to switch occupations by 2030. That’s more than 100 million workers across the eight economies studied—and the pandemic accelerated expected workforce transitions.
  • Job growth will be more concentrated in high-skill jobs (for example, in healthcare or science, technology, engineering, and math [STEM] fields), while middle- and low-skill jobs (such as food service, production work, or office support roles) will decline.
  • A few job categories could see more growth than others. The rise of e-commerce created demand for warehouse workers; investments in the green economy could increase the need for wind turbine technicians; aging populations in many advanced economies will increase demand for nurses, home health aides, and hearing-aid technicians; and teachers and training instructors will also continue to find work over the coming decade.
  • But other types of jobs may be at risk: for example, as grocery stores increasingly install self-checkout counters, there may be a need for fewer clerks, and robotics used to process routine paperwork may lessen demand for some office workers.

The future of work was shifting even before COVID-19 upended lives and livelihoods. But the pandemic accelerated three broad trends that will continue to reshape work as the effects of the crisis recede:

  1. Remote work and virtual meetings are likely to continue, although less intensely than at the pandemic’s peak.
  2. E-commerce soared, growing at two to five times the pre-COVID-19 rate, and other kinds of virtual transactions such as telemedicineonline banking, and streaming entertainment took off. And shifts to digital transactions also propelled growth in delivery, transportation, and warehouse jobs.
  3. The pandemic propelled faster adoption of digital technologies, including automation and AI. Companies used them to control costs or mitigate uncertainty; they also deployed these technologies in warehouses, grocery stores, call centers, and manufacturing sites to either reduce workplace density or deal with surging demand for items.

Understanding these macro trends within the global economy is vital to planning for what’s ahead.

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