Does anyone have an idea about workplace 2050? Will our work lives be primarily virtual? Will computers and robots do our work? How will employers identify talent — college degree, portfolios, personality tests, on-the-job training? Who will the Boomers be in 2050 and will this matter? Forecasting for workplace 2050 may not be as far-fetched as it seems in 2011.
In 1987, the Hudson Institute released “Workforce 2000”, a report forecasting trends for the workforce at the turn of the century. Six challenges were identified:
- Engaging in global employment growth.
- Productivity in the expanding service industry.
- Capturing the energy of the aging workforce.
- Aligning and balancing the needs of women, families and the workplace.
- Greater integration of African Americans and Latinos into the workforce.
- Raising the skills and educational levels of workers for future jobs.
“Workforce 2020” (Judy & D’Amico, 1997), published 10 years later also by the Hudson Institute, expanded on the challenges identified in “Workforce 2000.” The report also identified the fastest growing and decreasing occupations through 2005 and the importance of required skills to many future occupations — language, math development and reasoning development. Links between educational attainment and earnings were also discussed.
Looking ahead: The Conversation at Hand
Among the most discussed drivers for the changing workplace are demographics, globalization, technology, the psychology of work and flexibility. Recurring themes are intergenerational workplaces; capturing the knowledge of Boomers; succession planning; being responsive to the differing needs of employees, domestically and globally; and preparation in the soft skills, not just a discipline or skill area. For employers, the challenges lie with managing virtually, an increasingly diverse workforce in all forms of diversity, talent management, flexibility and preparing “nontraditional” leaders.
As a psychologist and educator, I have always appreciated the intersection of qualitative factors such as workplace climate, individuals’ mindsets and motivations, and relationships among workers that affect performance. The dynamic themes previously mentioned suggest that managers and leaders will require a broader repertoire of knowledge competencies; emotional intelligence will be essential. “The 2020 Workplace” (Meister & Willyerd, 2010) discusses forces shaping the future workforce, the role of social recruiting and predictions for the 2020 workplace. The future is now.
What Does Talent Bring?
Just Google the terms talent management and future workplace and you will find an abundance of articles, websites and opinions on these topics. What might we expect about talent identification, talent development and retention, and talent management in the next 30-40 years? How will individuals prepared in what are becoming more conventional educational venues (virtual) be perceived from others who arrive at the workplace through more traditional routes (live classroom experiences)?
These are the myriad of questions on the minds of many human resources specialists and employers all over the world. Post a comment and provide your perspectives on the future of talent in the global workplace.