To stay competitive in a labor market, it is essential to keep track of the latest trends in future skills and the future workforce. Our clients usually ask us what changes they can expect for certain job roles or skills in the future, how the industries are changing, what trends are emerging. To solve our clients’ challenges, we’re working daily with a huge amount of macroeconomic labor data. The insights that this data can deliver are fascinating us, and we decided to look this time broader and ask the data a question: How would the future workforce of 2030 look like?
In this article, you will find our predictions based on 2.3 billion analyzed job postings worldwide. This data allowed us to build a data-driven hypothesis and outline three key trends that’ll shape the future workforce 2030.
On our blog, we often talk about the future workforce and skills of the future. Because we’re living in a rapidly changing environment, these concepts are constantly redefined. While we can forecast some socio-economical changes, other “black swans” like pandemics are impossible to predict.
Several characteristics outline the future:
- There’s a mismatch between macro-economic changes that evolve for a long time and short product lifecycles that require quick reactions and tweaks. Without proper strategic workforce planning, harmonizing these tasks is impossible.
- A discouraging “Black swan” concept makes HR leaders realize the importance of a highly adaptable and flexible workforce to cope with surprises that come along.
- With the customer moving to the center of attention for companies, previously siloed departments need to enable an end-to-end customer experience along a complex value chain. This requires building a connected workforce.
- While the first three industrial revolutions evolved roles with a clear set of skills, the fourth industrial revolution – driven by digitization asks for an increasingly hybrid skillset to tackle ambiguous challenges across various domains. In this paradigm, strict job roles and skillsets tailored to these job roles are no longer relevant.
So, what can we learn from the data about the future? We deep-dived into the global pool of job postings and investigated how job profiles and skills demanded over the globe have changed in the last six years and, based on these trends, made our predictions for the workforce of the future 2030. We distinguish between three main workforce types:
1. The connected workforce
Based on the analyzed data, we could see that from 2015 to 2021, there was a dramatic increase (+376%) of employers for remote working in jobs, not tying the job offer to locations anymore.
The times when companies ‘own’ their workforce have ended. Companies step beyond in-house hiring thanks to state-of-the-art technologies, business models, and associated skill changes. Instead, organizations manage a network of internal employees, freelancers, outsourced companies, and other contractors. This trend has also increased by +8% in 2021.
Additionally, the “WFH” trend is going to stay with us for a while.
A recent study by McKinsey says that from 20 to 25% of the workforce in advanced economies has the potential to work from home at least three days a week without losing effectiveness. Companies realize the need to adapt to the new normal and introduce flexible, hybrid workspaces or hubs. These hubs would allow employees to stick to their preferred working lifestyle. For example, working parents would work at home and escape to the office occasionally to interact with peers and solve tasks requiring their presence.
“The future is not fully remote, and it is not even hybrid; the future is flexible! People want flexibility, and they want to work for leaders that trust them and leaders that they can trust.” – Jan Tegze, the author of “Full-Stack Recruiter”, recruiting and sourcing expert
The future workforce isn’t limited to in-house teams or office workers. Thus, one of the critical business tasks is to connect employees for delivering excellent services at all touchpoints of a value chain. To achieve these goals, companies must consider:
2. The chameleon workforce
Technology and organizational changes inflict new skill requirements within jobs drastically. In 2021 the skill changes within jobs were at their highest since 2015. Our research revealed that 14% of the jobs in 2021 have altered more than 80% of the required skills and 31% had altered between 50-80% of the required skills.
The Future of Jobs Report 2020 from The World Economic Forum explains that the adoption of cutting-edge technologies significantly causes the acceleration of the future of work. Analysts predict that by 2025, there will be up to a 29% rise in technology adoption rate in comparison with 2018: cloud computing (17%), Internet of Things (9%), and cybersecurity (29%). The speed of technology adoption leads to increasing demand for specific job roles and skills.
We estimate that about 30% of the jobs would not be necessary within ten years anymore and another 50% would change significantly. At the same time, new jobs will evolve. For instance, in just between 2020-2021, 316 new jobs have evolved.
The “chameleon workforce” means a highly adaptable workforce. That’s why hiring managers are no longer looking for candidates that would perfectly fit in job profiles. Instead, they’re paying their attention to skillsets and reskilling potential. As for a current workforce, businesses must focus on a culture of change so that employees see it as part of their work to upskill and reskill. With these factors in mind, businesses need to shift from long-term workforce planning (more than three years) to a dynamic planning approach.
3. The socio-digital workforce
Marketers create personas – a composite character of their target audience representing their behavior, attitudes, demographics, etc. If we created a persona of the future workforce, a typical employee would be digitally savvy and multi-skilled. They love to interact with peers and demonstrate excellent soft skills like leadership and social skills.
Today, almost half of employers are looking for this kind of workforce. Our analysis shows that 47% of job profiles require more interpersonal and digital skills. Factors like increasing remote interaction and customer-centricity drive demand for hybrid skillsets from one employee. Hybrid skills include social skills, innovation mindset, and domain knowledge all in one.
The fourth industrial revolution is digital, so the need to increase the general digital savviness of the workforce becomes imminent. Recently, we listed top digital skills of the future that included data analytics, data visualization, and exploration. While digital literacy was on this list and listed as necessary, but it’s no longer enough. The more businesses embrace emerging technologies, the higher the bar for the workforce. For instance, Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO at O’Reilly Media, said: “Every industry and every organization will have to transform itself in the next few years. What is coming at us is bigger than the original internet, and you need to understand it, get on board with it and figure out how to transform your business.”
HRForecast develops people analytics and strategic workforce planning solutions for SMBs and large enterprises. We also provide consulting and research to help you benchmark against competitors, discover new talent markets and locations, and forecast workforce changes at your organization. Contact us, and we’ll reach out to you promptly for further details.