We live in a quickly changing world. If you think about it, there has been a tremendous amount of modernization in recent history that can’t be found at any other point on the timeline. That’s such a cool thing to be a part of, but it also means that we’ve got to keep up with all of the modernization happening all around us.
We’re all about small-medium businesses and innovation, so when we get the chance to analyze future workforce trends, we get really excited. These trends could affect you, us, and everyone you work with quite soon, so it’s important to pay attention now—or you will get left behind.
Independent Contractors vs Employees
There’s been a huge change in how employees/workers are being hired. Many companies are now paying independent contractors to do some jobs instead of hiring a full time employee for their company. Many workers are growing accustomed to this type of contracted work agreement, though many still are left concerned. Common concerns include questions of the permanency of employment, the possibility of a raise or promotion, and the lack of employee benefits.
Digital-Born Companies & Digital Work Environments
Digital-born companies are exactly the kinds of companies who are helping to push this surge of contracted work and remote workers. Born and operated online, these companies can hire very specialized talent from anywhere in the world. This makes the job market far more competitive because your competition isn’t limited to the folks in your small area of the world. This also makes it easier to recruit top talent because there are no limitations of distance and travel.
Though only 17% of global executives state that they’re ready to manage the future workforce of humans and AI working side-by-side, 34% are preparing for it in the testing stages and 41% have made significant progress in this step. If you ask us, that’s a whole lot of AI coming at us pretty fast (source). How is your workplace prepared to handle this imminent trend? And, how will you integrate it with your current workforce? We think that AI is perfect for doing all those tasks we hate doing so that we can do more of the high-level things that we love doing. Which leads us to the next trend!
More Human Interaction
Despite the growth in AI trends, we actually expect to see an increase in human interaction as well. With so many technologies allowing consumers to conduct their business without interacting with another person, human interaction has become somewhat of a novelty. Businesses who provide that personal touch now have a sort of classic charm reminiscent of a simpler time. In addition, employee-employee interaction is on the rise, with top companies encouraging their employees to mingle and collaborate for the sake of productivity and a positive environment.
A surge of self-directed learning has brought on an increase in new types of certifications and credentials. This stems from the increasingly unaffordable costs of higher education, and young people are finding ways to advance themselves while dodging the cost of tuition. Modern businesses need to plan for these new credentials since many qualified employees are taking the alternative route of online learning. Employers need to alter their screening methods to account for this trend in non-traditional skills and knowledge learning or they’re going to miss out on some incredible talent (like the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg?).
Skills Advancement & Retraining
As tasks become automated, and as brand new job positions are created to meet new needs, employees may require new skills/knowledge in order to stay relevant. Instead of allowing employees to become irrelevant to their positions, skills advancement programs are crucial. Retraining employees on skills they may have missed or have become a little shaky on can also help to make the most of the workforce. Your employees, present and future, will feel a stronger sense of importance and safety on the job if they’re continually learning more advanced skills, being refreshed on older concepts, and given opportunities to grow and advance their careers.
An older workforce
Baby boomers are living to be older than generations past, and they are retiring at older ages than previous generations as well (source). This means that they remain in the workforce for longer and fill more jobs than ever before. We’ll be working with the oldest workforce in recent history, and that’s where some of the skills advancement and retraining can become highly relevant.
Whether you’re excited or nervous about these future workforce trends, it’s important to pay attention to them, anticipate them, and prepare for them. A little research can go a long way, like understanding the difference between a contracted worker and a company employee—and making smart choices for your company based on that research.
Whether your business employs five people or five thousand, this future has been coming at you and it’s time to embrace it. Will you look into AI capabilities? Will you work on engaging more people with one another? Will you research the types of certifications non-university learners are earning online? Make the most of these changes and watch your business grow with society.
Change can be scary, but it can also be very beneficial. Help your team create a mindset for change so that you are all prepared to take the next step together, no matter what it is that you’re determined to change for your workplace.