Factors influencing the world of work: everything you need to know

By Robert Half 29th June 2018

The world of work is facing fast-paced change. Working, hiring, retention and business structures will have to adapt in the coming months and years, prompting many to take preparatory action. 

Through a series of reports and surveys, Robert Half has gained insight into changes on the horizon and how businesses worldwide are shifting to accommodate them. Here are the factors due to influence the world of work: 

1. More generations in the workplace than ever before

Longer life expectancies and later retirement ages mean there are now five generations filling the ranks in our modern workplaces—that’s more than ever before. We’re blending ages 17 – 70 within one workforce and although it has its benefits, it also comes with immense challenges.

Housing such a large age range within one company gives a complex variety of skills which can be tapped into through initiatives like mentorship schemes. Where older generations have legacy industry knowledge and experience on their side, the younger generations are digitally fluent and better able to connect online. 

Having such a generational mix also requires adaptable, empathetic HR practices. Managing all five generations effectively will mean taking the time to understand the variety of pain points to help keep retention and job satisfaction high. 

2. Digital transformation

Digital transformation isn’t just changing the face of business transactions, it’s also impacting employee expectations and the way in which businesses are hiring. 

Last year, a Robert Half report on digital transformation and the future of hiring revealed that eight in ten CFOs planned to recruit to account for the skills shift which occurred through the launch of digitalisation projects. This has increased demand for highly skilled employees, causing businesses to hire contract and temporary employees to fill skill gaps and prevent delays to transformation projects.

Read the full digital transformation report here

Digital transformation is also beginning to affect the way in which employees hope to work. According to the Robert Half Salary Guide, flexible and remote working is high on the list of remuneration package priorities for top performing talent. Businesses have begun to cater for the trend by updating the benefits in their remuneration packages and ensuring that salaries are more performance-based. 

3. Rise of the professional gig economy

The desire for work flexibility shouldn’t be underestimated. According to a Robert Half survey, more than one in four (28%) employees dream of leaving their jobs in favour of becoming their own boss. This has given rise to the professional ‘gig’ economy—contract employees who are paid per job or project. While not a new concept within professional services as many have worked as part a contingency workforce for a while, the new ways and more digitally-savvy ways of seeking and securing work is making contracting much more favourable. These types of workers are in greater control of their work schedules and the kinds of clients and projects they choose. 

The new abundance of flexible employees yields the potential for businesses to utilise their staffing budgets and hiring plans more effectively. It has also contributed towards the British start-up revolution by giving small companies access to top talent on a scalable basis.

4. Automation and AI

The digital economy is gaining speed and businesses are launching processes and infrastructures to keep up. According to a Robert Half report, automation is due to affect payroll, financial planning, accounts payable and accounts receivable roles by 2020. By streamlining processes, six in ten businesses believe that productivity will increase.

Automation has the power to free employees from repetitive or time-consuming tasks and will allow them to focus on more value-added work or creative problems solving. New technology also yields the added benefit of employee training for better technical skill development.

To get the expert support you need to navigate future changes to the world of work, contact our team today.

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