The Roaring 20s – what does the next decade have in store for the Future of Work?

Happy New Year, and welcome to a new decade! We’ve made it through the 2010s – a decade of socio-economic rebuilding, astounding technological innovations and the rise of social media. The landscape of work has also changed- globalisation and tech advances have redefined work, creating new opportunities and challenges for businesses around the globe. But in which direction are we heading in over the next decade? What will the 2020s mean for the future of work? We’ve taken a look at the trends that we think might define the next ten years, exploring how businesses will need to navigate the ever-changing landscape to ensure continued growth and prosperity.


A Decade of Diversity


More and more businesses are turning their attention towards talent diversity in order to drive innovation, improve performance and develop a competitive advantage. As expectations within the workplace, and amongst clients and stakeholders continue to grow, the role of women in the labour market will grow in scale, and gender equality in the workplace will become both a social and a business obligation. The evolution of the workforce is still a work in progress, and will require a continued, collaborative effort to fully close the gender gap and build businesses that are representative of their own client base.


The increasing global mobility of workers over the last decade has integrated diverse cultures, races and languages. In London alone in 2019, 28% of employees were non-UK nationals. As we near the UK’s exit from the European Union, however, global mobility will need to adapt to the uncertain realities of Brexit and offer an important strategic contribution to ensure long-term sustainability, whilst boosting performance in the short-term. With an estimated 30-50% of London’s construction workforce and food manufacturers coming from the EU, how will these workforces be maintained? Will the Tier 2 visa skills threshold be reduced? Will short-term work permits for unskilled migrants be introduced? Businesses will need to act now to retain workers, or embrace more flexible workforce models that allow for contingent and off-site engagements. Organisations need to accept that markets, goals and needs will change continuously and rapidly - the companies that are prepared to be nimble and dynamic will be the ones that keep pace. 


Work/Life Balance


The next decade will see an ever-increasing workers’ desire for an improved work/life balance. Currently, 60% of employees say that the availability of flexible working in their workplace is of critical importance, and this figure will only grow in the coming years. Some will demand flexi-time, some will want to be re-skilled and retrained to build their own career models, some will want to work remotely, and some will demand an improved workplace culture. The next decade won’t be about caving to employee demands, but about businesses evaluating their own organisation and seeing where they can complement and satisfy their workforce and their business directives simultaneously. When an organization is flexible, and accommodates its employees' needs and schedules, it will ensure a healthier work-life balance, and employees will be more satisfied with their jobs, improve their performance, and stay with the business in times of talent scarcity.



The Blended Workforce


Businesses will continue to build and disassemble corporate divisions quickly and efficiently, as they move work between pools of long-term core employees, remote colleagues and outsourced external talent. In 2019, 67% of business leaders claimed to have used temporary or interim professionals to support their projects, and 50% of executives have tapped into the independent workforce to help find the talent they require on a permanent basis. These numbers are only going to increase over the next decade. The 20s will be all about introducing flexible recruitment models, and nimbly introducing the right specialists at the right times, to drive performance, introduce and integrate fresh skills within the existing workforce, and sustain the long-term direction of the business.


Building a blended workforce with a wide range of skills to complement each other, will create fluid units that can handle a diverse range of challenges, and improve the efficiency of businesses.



Asia - Pacific Growth


Economic power will continue to shift towards emerging countries. If current trends continue, China and India will account for 40 per cent of all global graduates over the next decade, while the US and will account for just over 25%. With Asia predicted to account for about 62% of global middleclass consumption by 2030, the continent could offer high growth investment opportunities, along with a strong and expanding workforce. This will encourage further off-shoring and outsourcing of workers for US and EU businesses. The trend itself seems irreversible, driven by the networked nature of work, an increasingly diverse global workforce, the desire for more flexible working conditions, and the general demands of organizations.




Keep an eye out for our blog updates over the next few months, as we explore the key implications of workforce developments for businesses and delve into the best strategies to ensure that organisations stay one step ahead of the game at all times.

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