6 Power Trends for the Future of Work
These key trends are shaping the future of talent strategy and forcing companies to adapt to the new way we work.
Things change—and every company must continually adapt or be left behind.
New technology develops, consumer preferences change, and the way we work evolves. So what does constant disruption mean for the workplace itself? What will the future look like, and how do we need to change our thinking so we don’t fall behind?
At STRIVE 2019, Shannon Gaydos shared six power trends that will impact the future of work.
1. School curriculums are not keeping pace with technology
65% of students in primary school today will end up in jobs that don’t exist yet. This fact will completely disrupt the traditional model of graduating from college and then working in the same field for decades. In the future, Gaydos expects that companies will need to focus more on continuous learning over time through internal learning organizations and professional development programs.
Potential impact: Constant reskilling and lifelong learning will be the new norm, requiring companies to increase investment in ongoing professional development.
2. Traditional college enrollment is declining
Traditional four-year college enrollment is expected to fall by more than 15% after the year 2025, driven by the tight labor market and declining educational requirements among many companies. In fact, organizations including Google and Facebook have already revised job descriptions to remove college degree requirements. As college enrollment declines, companies will need to expand their talent pools to include candidates with nanodegrees, certificates, and on-the-job training rather than traditional four-year degrees.
Potential impact: Organizations will need to re-evaluate education requirements for new hires as alternate degree programs proliferate.
3. U.S. student debt has surpassed $1.53 trillion
The current levels of student debt are unprecedented, with the average borrower incurring $37,000 in debt. During the 2008 recession, many people went back to school in hopes of finding a new job. At the same time, college tuition rose steeply. Since then, companies have lowered their hiring requirements as more and more employees have opted for alternative, less expensive education options. Student debt is a real pain point for many Americans, and it will continue to contribute to declining traditional college enrollment.
Potential impact: Student loan aid will be a trending employee benefit.
4. Unprecedented global aging will affect us financially, structurally, and emotionally
Every day, 10,000 Americans reach retirement age. By 2050, 87.3 million people (more than 20% of the U.S. population) will be seniors over the age of 65. In a nation where one in five people is a senior, caregiving needs will grow 160% by 2050. And while the senior population grows, the pool of potential caregivers is expected to increase by only 13%.
There’s no doubt that more people in the workforce will have caregiving responsibilities, whether it’s their children, parents, or grandparents. The sandwich generation (Boomers caring for college-age kids and parents at the same time) will increase as people live longer. And all of this will impact how people work. Caregiving employees may need flexible hours, more paid time off, unpaid leave, a second job…or they may leave the workforce entirely. To face this emotional and financial challenge, talent teams may need to explore more flexible family leave policies to allow for both parental and caregiver leave.
Potential impact: Caregiver benefits and family leave options should be factored into employment policies.
5. “Worktirement” is threatening to replace retirement
90% of Americans over age 60 with retirement savings have saved less than $100,000, and only 3% of companies now offer a pension—a major change from decades ago. This retirement savings crisis has led to multiple financial fears: never being able to retire, always living paycheck to paycheck, and living in debt forever. The net result? Many people are forced to work past retirement age.
Potential impact: Recruitment strategies should target seniors, and organizations should consider retiree “returnship programs.”
6. Flexible workspace is on the rise
The co-working space sector has grown an average of 23% annually since 2010, and more spaces are opening every day. Many companies are opening coworking hubs in cities they don’t currently operate, allowing organizations to capitalize on talent in areas that were previously out of reach.By optimizing space and gaining access to talent in new areas, companies can reduce real estate and planning costs for businesses in the long run.
Potential impact: Companies will face increasing pressure to “think outside the building” and partner with real estate planning teams on a new office model.
It’s vital to harness the power of trends in whatever role you have. Appoint HR leaders who can think boldly and globally about trends from the top, pull them together, and drive change for the business. And if these trends aren’t being addressed in your office, voice them and affect change from wherever you are.