• BLOG | How will the 4th Industrial Revolution shape our work?

    May 7, 2019 | Andrew Stead
  • “Every industrial revolution brings a learning revolution” – Alexander De Croo, Belgian Politician

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring unfathomable change to all of our lives, ranging from what we eat to how, how we socialise, and even how we propagate our race!

    One area that I think is particularly interesting is the way these changes are already beginning to impact our working lives. Work is so important for our well-being for so many reasons. Not just because we spend so much time in the office, but because it also provides us intellectual fulfilment and social interaction as well as paying the bills! 

    Governments and organisations will need to react promptly to the new and unpredictable ways of doing business with rapidly changing technology.

    Let’s look briefly at some of the future possibilities of work and employment:    

  • 1. The Gig Economy 

    The ‘Gig Economy’ is characterised by flexibility. Teams working dynamically with task-based work, on specific projects, for a finite amount of time. Traditional long-term employment replaced by flexible outsourcing. This approach guarantees flexibility and the capability of businesses to expand and contract as they need.

    2. New Skills 

    According to The World Economic Forum, 35% of core skills will change between 2015 and 2020 (Future of Jobs, 2016).

    In 2015, Teamwork and Coordination were the top skills priority. In 2020, the most critical skills will be Critical Thinking, Analysis, Creativity and Innovation. By 2022, the shift is further to an open-minded approach with constant knowledge accumulation to provide new and innovative solutions.  

    3. Education, Education, Education

    There’s no doubt that greater training will have a fundamental role in the evolution of work. The training and education of the future looks set to be:

    1. Online, self-paced and personalised: automation will make easier selecting certain modules according to the learner’s needs
    2. Skills-oriented: technology and working needs will rapidly such that practical tools and experience will be more highly valued
    3. Greater accessibility: since training and higher education will be an increasingly important component of society, there will be an urgent need for it to become more widespread
  • 4. Job Security 

    Will a robot take over your job? According to research (Frey, Osborne - 2013) some categories of professions are more at risk than others. 

    Top 5 least safe jobs (% chance of automation)

    1. Telemarketer (99%)
    2. Loan officer (98%)
    3. Cashier (97%)
    4. Paralegal and legal assistant (94%)
    5. Taxi driver (89%)

    Top 5 safest jobs

    1. Mental health and substance abuse social worker (0.3%)
    2. Occupational therapist (0.35%)
    3. Dietitian and nutritionist (0.39%)
    4. Physician and surgeon (0.42%)
    5. Clergy (0.82%)

    What is more alarming is that according to the list of the safest jobs we will become a population of depressed, fat, drugs abusers, unhealthy individuals, in search for some kind of spiritual answer. Let’s hope not!


  • 5. No job, no problem!

    There will certainly be the prospect of greater unemployment, but the good news is that also means our free time is increasing. 

    While growing unemployment rates are currently seen as distressing, what could a society without human labour really look like?

    A long term, jobless society, where machines produce everything necessary and each person lives in luxury, would, by definition, reduce inequality among countries and citizens. We could imagine a see a well-being renaissance, with humans concentrating on the things they love, dedicating time to art, music, poetry, science, invention and exploration.    

    So, let the new Mozart create beautiful music, while unit 6255 is preparing coffee!


    Have a fabulous day!