Vincent Fosty, Technology, Media and Telecommunications leader, Deloitte.
Future of Work
Part I – the perfect storm
There is a unique trait to the so-called digital era we find ourselves in … and that is the simple fact that for the first time in the evolution of technology, it is the consumers, the citizens, the people that adopted massively new technologies (aka the cloud, mobile, social networks, …) before they found their way into the business world.
And it isn’t a secret to anyone in this audience that the massive adoption of these technologies which now exponentially accelerates … started with the younger generations, the Millennials followed by Generation Z. The next generation internet is in effect “the internet of the next generation”.
The same Millennials represent 50 to 60% of the global workforce already, so they are IN the enterprises and the public institutions already, redefining at the same time job contents and ways of working – it is no longer a question of if nor when this will happen … but rather how organizations will adapt to this!
At the same time, exponential evolutions of robotics and artificial intelligence have the potential to impact more than 50% of our current jobs globally. Average ratio – between high 75% in China and low 30% in UK. In the Human Capital Trends study ran by Deloitte in 2017, 41% of companies reported they have fully implemented or have made significant progress in adopting cognitive computer robotics and AI technologies within their workforce. And another 34% are in the midst of pilot programs.
These phenomena create a perfect storm we call ‘The Future of Work’ …
And the storm isn’t easy to navigate … in the same study conducted by Deloitte globally, only 17% of global executives report they are ready to manage a workforce with robots, people and AI working together. This is the lowest level of readiness we have seen for a trend in the last 5 years of surveying trends.
Part II – Return of human skills
With all technology developments comes a world of opportunities. And beyond productivity we see an opportunity to rethink work around something we call “essential human skills”. Whilst tasks are being automated, the essential human parts of work are becoming more important: empathy, personal service, creativity, communication, problem solving, persuasion, ethical skills, … Technologies will boost productivity and allow workers to focus on the human aspects of work.
This raises an interesting design question for organizations: how can they achieve the greatest total value, balancing short term and long-term consequences for themselves and their workforce.
There is no fatality for the workforce in the next generation internet era … We are far from the situations where organisation will have the binary option replacing jobs or not. 77% of companies told us they either busy retraining people to use technology or will redesign jobs to take better advantage of human skills.
Part III – Augmented workforce
The Future of Work is also characterized by new human models, leveraging crowds and contract labour. How can organizations, companies and institutions use an open talent ecosystem of crowds, contingent and contract talent to increase quality, improve flexibility and their ability to scale – up or down?
The Future of Work refers to this combination of workforce augmentation through robots and AI on the one hand, and crowds and contingent workers on the other. In this context, companies and organizations will need to reinvent what work really means, how the workforce is designed, how the workforce is trained … or retrained. When done carefully, automation and the use of crowds can have a tremendous positive impact on productivity, employee engagement and customer value.
From the network and sentiment analysis ran on 650,000 messages exchanged on social media between November and April 2017 by REIsearch, the connection between work, internet technologies and flexible arrangements seems particularly evident, and importantly, associated to supporting women employment, but also entrepreneurship with “start-up jobs” becoming increasingly more attractive than open-end contracts with established companies.
We believe the Future of Work to be an important aspect of the Next generation Internet, and a challenge for the next generation of leaders and workers. We do plead for a positive attitude towards the challenge. We apply it to ourselves. Deloitte in global, people only organisation with 250 thousand employees. Now we observe a slower growth of our payroll staff and a higher growth of open talent arrangements through contingent workers, associate contractors and crowdsourcing platforms, for example. However, while some elements of the Future of Work are well understood by leaders, others are still in emerging stage of understanding and readiness.
We believe this form a perfect place and very relevant opportunity to raise awareness and discuss the future of the internet.
Thank you very much.