Defining “work” in the workplace


The major impact of technology will be on the nature of the work, and less on the number of jobs.

We are in the midst of a massive technological revolution that is redefining the very definition of the word ‘work’. No one can really predict what the future holds but as emerging technologies continue to transform both the workforce and workplace of the future, I am convinced about one thing: the impact of technology is exaggerated in the short term and understated in the long run.

 Let’s start by looking at the long run

 As modern age information junkies, we have all developed an intrinsic fixation with numbers and statistics, and any discussion is incomplete without looking at some. Consider these: 50 percent of current work activities are technically automatable. Only five percent of the jobs are completely automatable. Eighty-five percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. Over 2.2 million new jobs were added to the US economy in 2017.

The fact of the matter, however, is that the major impact of technology will be on the nature of the work and less on the number of jobs. As technology and automation eliminate some of the traditional jobs, new jobs will get created. Business translators, AI ethicists, and linguists… the list is long. Higher cognitive skills, as well as social, emotional and technological skills, will be on the rise and in demand.

The ‘human -Machine partnership’ will require a different mindset and skills to thrive and it will be fascinating to see how humans leverage technology and help create new forms of value.

The short-term impact: digital talent war 

Over the next 18-24 months, every organisation will face the same core challenge. How to recruit topflight digital talent at scale? The demand for digital, analytics and automation talent is likely to exceed supply by - 4X in the next 3-5 years and as we enter the digital talent war, we have to arm ourselves with refreshed people strategy and effective recruiting methods.

Exploring new sourcing channels, deploying technology-led improvements in HR systems, keeping employee experience in the front and at the centre, and positioning human capital as a strategic priority - these are just some of the trends that will impact talent.

Leading from the front: the commandments 

While it is impossible to predict what the future holds, we most definitely prepare for it.

It is important to reskill systematically and creating a culture of continuous learning. Talent must be linked to value to identify top performers for key initiatives that will drive value for one’s business in the next three years. We can also do this by changing the way we work and institutionalising improved knowledge access, social collaboration, virtual partnerships and smart org-redesign.

Now is the time. To experience true transformation and be a part of a revolution!

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)