The beginning of a new year brings with it a flurry of optimism: Will this be the year our business gets its big break? Is this the year we find love, or finally achieve that long-term goal? As 2016 has ended and we are well into 2017, I’d like to look back at the technology of 2016 and offer predictions about what we might see in the workplace of the future. What will work look like in 2017 and beyond? What challenges will we face, and what opportunities will we finally embrace? Here’s what I think we can expect for the future of the workplace.
Leverage Machine Learning for Maximum Efficiency
I talk about artificial technology a lot in my business, and I believe it’s time for mainstream adoption in the workplace. I’m not talking about the gimmicky, chatbot antics businesses have used in the past. Sure, chatting with a pumpkin spice latte on Twitter may be a source of entertainment, but it isn’t fully realizing AI’s business value. When I look at 2017 and beyond, I see a spike in machine learning that helps our workforce perform faster and more efficiently. Employees will no longer expend energy on menial or repetitive tasks; instead, they will be able to focus on jobs that require their specific expertise.
Many experts take a “doom and gloom” view of machine learning and the rise of robots, lamenting they will overtake human jobs en masse in the near future. I tend to take a more optimistic approach. Robots will help us do our jobs more efficiently, but there’s no replacement for empathy and genuine customer service. A business is only as good as its employees, and those employees will continue to be people.
Embrace Managed Services and Cloud Adoption
If you’ve been thinking about using more managed services or moving your data to the cloud, it’s time to act. I see more companies in the future migrating their data and applications to the cloud, and working more with service providers. Technology moves so quickly that your IT departments are under constant pressure to keep up. Managed services help your IT departments work on more industry-specific troubleshooting and the development of processes that will make your entire enterprise more efficient. We rarely think of IT as the most important cog in our organizational wheel—but if our tech isn’t working at max capacity, the entire company suffers. In the future, I predict in-house IT will take on a more specific role as managed services handle the big stuff.
Cloud computing will take off in a big way, because we’re beginning to see an influx of cloud providers who offer hybrid solutions and maintain regulatory compliance for high-security fields, such as healthcare and finance. Our companies now generate huge amounts of data, and that trend will only continue. Instead of trying to manage our data on in-house servers, we’ll soon store it in the cloud.
Work from Home, Not an Office
Remote work is hardly a new concept, but we’ll see the number of work-from-home opportunities increase exponentially in the near future. A key driver for this trend will be employers leveraging the benefits of hiring freelancers rather than employees. Hiring freelancers gives employers access to a global pool of talent. There’s no lengthy hiring process, no benefits package to consider, no required health insurance to provide. Workers also have more freedom in their assignments, work hours, and office locations.
Are workers taking on freelance opportunities because they like the flexibility, or because they can’t find full-time work? Approach freelance opportunities in a manner that is commensurate with your company culture. Make your organization an enjoyable place to freelance, and you’ll get quality-outsourced work in return.
Improve Your Company’s Mobility
Lastly, we’ll see more mobility in the workforce. Again, this is not a new trend, and the BYOD movement has already experienced widespread adoption. I think we’ll see workplaces become more mobile as companies realize a physical office location is no longer essential. Video collaboration and digital workplace tools allow employees to work together to achieve business goals without being in the same room. Physical workspaces will slowly be replaced by digital spaces.
Predicting future trends is always entertaining, but none follow an “all-or-nothing” approach. While we will see an increase in digital workspaces, freelancing, and AI, I don’t expect these trends to overtake the workforce in the near future. I still see physical workspaces and human employees on the horizon.
This post was brought to you by IBM Global Technology Services. For more content like this, visit IT Biz Advisor.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Taking-a-Look-at-The-Workplace-of-2017-and-Beyond.jpg7611065Daniel Newmanhttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngDaniel Newman2017-02-06 09:00:422020-05-31 18:08:52Taking a Look at The Workplace of 2017 and Beyond
The marketing SVP I was sitting next to leaned close and whispered “what’s stem?”
He seemed a little hesitant to admit that he didn’t know what the term meant to the rest of the table, but as everyone was busy arguing about AI and robots replacing all of our jobs someday soon, he saw an opening and took a chance. The term had bounced back and forth across the table a few times: Stem this and stem that. Was it a biotech thing? Genetic-engineering jobs? (Because stem cells, I expect.) Some kind of government tech education program?
“S.T.E.M.,” I said. “Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.”
“Ohhhhh,” he replied with a grin. “Tech jobs.”
Right. Tech jobs. Sort of. Not just tech jobs, but definitely the kinds of jobs most prized by companies right now, at least at scale.
A little background: I had just spent a chunk of my time on my flight to DFW reading up on global macroeconomic trends, and particularly how they relate to shifts in job creation around the world. (I have real hobbies, I promise, but I’m also kind of curious about a lot of tech-related topics. It kind of comes with the job.) So anyway, there I was, wondering if my newly STEM-enlightened neighbor would feel super psyched about scoring an impromptu mini-course in how STEM jobs impacted employment trends, and what we might infer about the US job market between now and 2025 given the shift to post industrialized… um… Yeah, no. He seemed like a nice enough guy, so we segued to HBO’s Westworld instead, and specifically how much of the hosts’ processes would have to be handled in the cloud, because that seemed less nerdy somehow.
Know your audience, they say.
Still though, this whole national job creation thing (which was a major piece of the presidential election discussion), and STEM, and IoT, and AI, and manufacturing vs tech… The convergence of these interconnected topics is filled with really interesting insights and catalysts for big ideas; so while my single-serving Marketing exec friend might not have been all that interested in employment data, or how STEM fields might play a part in creating a lot of new jobs in our increasingly digital economy, I find the topic particularly relevant to the world of digital transformation that we dig into here a little deeper every day.
Let me frame it in a way that will make the most sense. A lot of what we talk about here touches on the future of work: the impact of the cloud, big data, cognitive computing, the digital workforce, AI, VR, the IoT (and the IIoT), advanced analytics, 3D Printing, mobility, etc. – the tools and processes and methodologies – and how they are already shaping how companies will operate as our world transitions from yesterday’s operational models to new business models run party on ubiquitous, ambient, intelligent technologies. In other words, we usually focus on outlining and explaining various key aspects of the operational building blocks of Digital Transformation.
The topic that we are introducing today is a macro version of that. Instead of the future of work, its focus is the future of employment. Specifically: what type of impact will advanced industries and STEM jobs ultimately have on the job market? Will they help create more jobs than they eliminate? Will they help drive more economic value than other industries and job categories? Will they trigger an upheaval of the job market, and consequently force a reboot of how we approach education, both K-12 and job training? What will be the impact of these changes on the business world? How might companies, large and small, not only protect themselves from this wave of disruption, but take advantage of it to gain a strategic advantage in their respective markets?
These are the types of questions that we will try to answer in this series. For now though, let’s establish a set of baselines we will come back to in future discussions.
A Quick Introduction to Advanced Industries
The best place to start, as always, is at the beginning, and the beginning, in this instance, isn’t actually Digital Transformation, it’s Advanced Industries. The term refers to roughly fifty industries heavily centered around STEM and R&D. Among these industries are familiar ones like wireless telecommunications, computer systems design, automotive, healthcare, aerospace, biotech, household appliances, and so on.
35 of these industries fall into the manufacturing sector. (This is important, so make a mental note of it.)
12 qualify as Service industries (software publishers, wireless carriers, medical and diagnostic labs, etc.).
3 fall into the Energy sector. They are: electric power generation, mining, and oil and gas extraction.
That’s right: 35 out of the 50 Advanced Industries are in the manufacturing sector. That’s more than two thirds. As we note the impact that the erosion of manufacturing jobs has had on the American middle class and the economic stress it has wreaked on blue collar workers, that’s an insight that caught my attention. So here it is: Insight number one – Over two thirds of Advanced Industries are in the Manufacturing sector.
Advanced Industries – Services (12/50): 6.2 million jobs.
Advanced Industries – Manufacturing (35/50): 5.5 million jobs.
Advanced Industries – Energy (3/50): 700,000 jobs.
Two quick observations. The first: That’s all? (It didn’t seem like a lot.) The second: The ratio of jobs per industry category (Services vs. Manufacturing) looks pretty uneven. How can 12 industries produce more jobs than 35?
I know why. It’s a reaction, not an actual question. Rather than go off into a windy tangent on the ratio of manufacturing to services jobs, let me paint a quick picture about the evolution of the manufacturing space in recent years with two eye-opening factoids:
Back in 1980, it took 25 jobs to generate $1M in manufacturing output. Today, it only takes 5 jobs to do that.
A spot-welder costs an average of $25 per hour. A spot-welding robot only costs an average of $8 per hour.
It doesn’t take an economist to figure out where this is going. This leads us to insight number two: If you currently work in advanced industry manufacturing, and you already know that a robot can do your job at least as well as you can (if not better or faster), you may want to consider engineering a transition to a related advanced industry services field.
Naturally, my next question hovered around job growth and trends in advanced industries: Overall, are those jobs growing, shrinking, or staying flat? Is there an opportunity here for job growth on a mass scale that the general public may not be aware of? Let’s look at the numbers:
Advanced Industry Jobs (US) in 1980: 11.3 million
Advanced Industry Jobs (US) in 2000: 11.3 million
Advanced Industry Jobs (US) in 2013: 12.3 million
Advanced Industry Jobs (US) in 2015: 12.9 million
That’s a significant uptick since 2000, but unfortunately it isn’t exactly keeping up with overall employment numbers, or driving significant job growth:
Total employment (US) in 1980: 97.5 million
Total employment (US) in 2000: 135.6 million
Total employment (US) in 2013: 141.8 million
Total employment (US) in 2015: 143.1 million
To put this in perspective, advanced industry’s share of US jobs has shrunk, not grown, since 1980:
Advanced Industries’ share of employment (US) in 1980: 11.6%
Advanced Industries’ share of employment (US) in 2000: 8.3%
Advanced Industries’ share of employment (US) in 2013: 8.7%
Advanced Industries’ share of employment (US) in 2015: 9.0%
What’s interesting though, is that for the same time period, advanced industries’ share of output has been steadily growing:
Advanced Industries’ share of economic output (US) in 1980: 14.3%
Advanced Industries’ share of economic output (US) in 2000: 16.8%
Advanced Industries’ share of economic output (US) in 2013: 17.7%
Advanced Industries’ share of economic output (US) in 2015: 17.2%
According to The Brookings Institution, advanced industries have increased their productivity by roughly 2.7%/year since 1980, while the rest of the economy has increased its average productivity by an average of 1.4%/year. Following a similar trend line, advanced industries jobs now average $214,000 per worker worth of output compared with $108,000 for the average worker outside of advanced industries. And finally, while earnings for an advanced industries worker averaged $95K in 2015, workers in other sectors only averaged $53K/year. When we graph that data, we get this:
Also worthy of note: while advanced industries only account for less than 10% of US jobs, they are responsible for generating a whopping 60% of US exports, and their combined output accounted for a massive 17.2% of US GDP in 2015.
Now let’s break things down to a more granular level: Advanced industries are made up of 50 different industry subsets. Are some of these subsets performing better than others in terms of job creation and overall growth? Have some been struggling? Let’s take a look:
Insight number three: Nearly 80% of new advanced industries jobs between 2013 and 2015 – roughly 480,000 new jobs – were created in services industries, not manufacturing.
Insight number four: Nearly two thirds of that growth – roughly 307,000 new jobs – were created in four specific industry categories:
Computer systems design
Web search and internet publishing
Data processing and hosting
Do those four industry categories sound familiar? If you spend any time at all browsing through our insights and reports, they should. They are the sectors driving Digital Transformation.
Shifting back to blue collar jobs for a moment, advanced manufacturing industries didn’t do nearly as well between 2013 and 2015, but they still managed to contribute roughly 132,200 new jobs (about 20% of the overall advanced industry job growth). It could be better, but it could also be a lot worse. Here is the most interesting part: If you have been following the auto industry’s shift to electric vehicles and advanced navigation/self-driving systems in the last couple of years, you may not be surprised to learn that nearly 70% of those new manufacturing jobs (roughly 95,000) came from that sector.
Here’s a breakdown of how the entire ecosystem looks like:
Some Parting Observations
That’s probably enough data for one sitting. Now, let’s spend a few minutes thinking about all of this. What can we infer from the data we just looked at?
On the whole, Advanced Industries appear to generate roughly twice as much economic value per worker as non-advanced industries.
The highest proportion of new jobs in advanced industries can be found in digital services (what people generally refer to as “tech” jobs).
Automobile manufacturing is showing the highest job growth of all advanced manufacturing sectors.
While digital transformation and technological disruption are driving the growth of advanced industries, advanced industries, in turn, are both shaping the Digital Transformation landscape and controlling the speed of technological disruption.
Speaking of technological disruption, advanced industries don’t operate in a vacuum. They impact millions of businesses by creating products and services that boost down-channel capacity, productivity, and profitability. (The impact of Digital Transformation.) There is an economic multiplier effect at work here that we will return to in a moment.
On the opposite side of that business ecosystem is a complex supply chain that allows advanced industries to operate. Another multiplier effect can be observed there.
The first of these multiplier effects is far more difficult to measure than the second, so let’s start with the second: the supply chain. It is estimated that 2.2 jobs are created in support off every advanced industry job. (0.8 locally, and 1.4 outside of the region.) That means that we can add an additional 28.4 million support jobs to the 12.9 million advanced industry jobs in the US – for a total of 41.3 million jobs. Based on the 143.1 million figure we used earlier, that accounts for 29% of all jobs.
The second of these multiplier effects will require its own article, but until then, consider this: The application of new information and communication technologies (or ICT for short) has been demonstrably responsible for more than 1/3 of all labor productivity growth between 2002 and 2012 in non-advanced industries (like retail, business services, hospitality, etc.). As ICT become increasingly vital to every vertical and business discipline through the diffusion of Digital Transformation, the the compounded impact of the advanced industry sector’s innovation on the overall capacity, productivity, and profitability of US businesses will continue to increase.
Translation: A handful of key advanced industries are currently at the center of a tectonic shift of new job creation in the US – a first wave, if you will, whose ripples could feed industries around it if those industries are prepared to take advantage of them.
We’ll pick up where we left off in Part 2. For now, take this all in, let these numbers settle, and perhaps even take a moment to marvel at the dynamic connective tissue between the macroeconomic forces shaping the future of employment and the technological ones shaping the future of work.
https://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/STEM-Advanced-Industries-and-The-Future-of-Employment.-–-Part-1-.jpg7231065Olivier Blanchardhttps://talentculture.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TCLogo_web-272x60-1.pngOlivier Blanchard2017-02-03 06:30:252020-05-31 18:08:24STEM, Advanced Industries, and The Future of Employment. – Part 1
It’s true that I don’t know how to do any of these things, but it’s not just a knowledge shortage I have. It’s more than that—I simply don’t have the natural gifts that would make these things possible, even if I worked my tail off for a decade or more.
But what if this is OK?
What if I can do different things—things that are actually quite impossible for others?
And what if YOU can do things that would be impossible for me?
(I suspect you can.)
What would happen in our workplaces if we encouraged our colleagues to do the impossible things; the things we couldn’t imagine being able to do? What if we pushed each other to that level of mastery of craft, that sharp of an edge of strength?
We’d have to be a lot more comfortable with the fact that well-roundedness is as realistic as a unicorn parading down our office hallway. We’d have to make peace with the fact that we just kind of suck at some things, and that those things we suck at usually suck the life out of us, so why do we care so much about them anyway? We’d have to get more comfortable with praising others for doing things we can’t do. We’d have to take our own egos down a notch (or fifty).
But just imagine: colleagues all around you doing things that feel amazingly, unattainably impossible to you. And teammates who look at you with the same kind of wonder about the ‘impossible’ things you’re doing.
Wouldn’t that be the coolest place to work in the world?
(Your company would likely make a boatload of money too, if you care about that kind of thing.)
Well, this is what we call a strengths-based organization, and it is the workplace of the future.