The Future of Work is Here Now – But Does Work Even Have a Future?

There are a ton of people who have dissected what the future holds for the workforce. An Oxford University study in 2013 suggests 47% of jobs in the US will disappear due to technological innovations. The OECD produced a more recent report that suggests only 9% of jobs globally will be lost due to automation. On sites like Willrobotstakemyjob people can check the automation risk level for many jobs.

But, what’s the truth? As ever, the answer lies somewhere in between the scenarios mentioned in the reports. But one thing is sure: automation will radically alter the nature of work; jobs will never be the same again.



Technology has moved at an awesome pace over the past several years and it often seems that tomorrow is here today. For organizations, preparing their workforce for the future is much more about being ready for the day after tomorrow than it is about what happens today or the next day!   As Peter Hinssen says of the tech revolution:

“Companies feel like inhabitants of coastal towns preparing for an oncoming hurricane, nailing wooden planks to their windows, but knowing that the tornado could just knock their entire house down if it happens to stand in the path of the oncoming storm. The Day After Tomorrow comes faster than ever before in history. Scary. But it seems like we’re still doing our Today and Tomorrow business like it was the 20th century.”

This is something echoed by social media and marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk. he was one of the first ones to take on social media as a marketing platform to grow his business. He harnessed the new tech for a benefit.

Gary has surfed the big waves and  brings this passion and experience to bear as he gets down to the hard core issues of adjusting to the market, consumer attention, and company culture in this ever-changing digital age.

Yet others have focused on how the future of work is really reimagining our conception of work. Vivek Wadhwa points to the reality that we can’t stop these innovations so we have to adapt or we will be unemployed and unskilled.

The fact is there are roles that will be replaced. We need to learn what to do as these positions are taken by automation. Where can those employees go? What new skill sets can they learn?

We need to be able to answer these questions along with the innovations in tech. The future of work is not replacing jobs with complete automation; it’s about developing new skills by enhancing our skill set through technology.

If you’re interested in the conversations surrounding the Future of Work and listening to some of the people mentioned above, then make sure you check out HR Tech World San Francisco on June 14-15 and get a ticket to the most happening place to be in the world of work.

Photo Credit: kaannc7 Flickr via Compfight cc