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What will the workplace be like in 2030? PWC report posits scenarios

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Pricewaterhouse Cooper (PwC) in February 2018 released a report, What will Work Look Like in 2030?  that takes a look at the future of the workplace. The report asks the reader to imagine ‘four radically different scenarios for how companies will manage people and how people will manage their work and careers.

Authors Jeff Hesse and Scott Olsen write, ‘We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and “thinking machines” are replacing human tasks, changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. But what will the future look like? This isn’t a time to sit back and wait for events to unfold. To be prepared for the future, you have to understand it’.

Four Worlds

The authors ask us to consider four different, color-coded, scenarios for the future. These scenarios, they say, ‘can help organizations think through possibilities and how they will prepare to meet them’.

 The Red World is fragmented, where innovation rules and there is a race to give consumers what they want.

  • Innovation outpaces regulation.
  • Digital platforms give outsized reach and influence to those with a winning idea.
  • Specialists and niche profit makers flourish.

The Green World is collective and integrated.

  • Companies care: social responsibility and trust dominate corporate agenda with concerns about demographic changes, climate, and sustainability becoming key drivers of business.

The Blue World is globalized, integrated, and individualized.

  • The corporation is king. Big company capitalism rules as organizations continue to grow bigger and individual preferences trump beliefs about social responsibility.

The Yellow World is where collectivism thrives in fragmented world.

  • Humans come first; socially focused, community businesses prosper; crowdfunded capital is directed to ethical brands. We search for meaning and relevance with a social heart.
  • Artisans and guilds thrive; human-ness is highly valued.

The takeaway for leaders

Act now: This isn’t about some ‘far future’ of work – change is already happening, and accelerating.

No regrets and bets: Plan for a dynamic, rather than static future. Make ‘no regrets’ moves that work with most scenarios – but you’ll need to make some ‘bets’ too.

Make a bigger leap: Don’t be constrained by your starting point. You might need a more radical change than just a small step away from where you are today.

Own the automation debate: A depth of understanding and keen insight into the changing technology landscape is a must.

People not jobs: Organizations can’t protect jobs which are made redundant by technology – but have a responsibility to their people. Nurture agility, adaptability and re-skilling.

Build a clear narrative: Anxiety kills confidence and the willingness to innovate. Start a mature conversation about automation the future.

The entire report can be viewed here.

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