There are significant changes ahead that will redefine the way that many of us do business, if we can keep abreast with these shifts then we can really take advantages of the opportunities that will arise.
We will shortly be entering a time when for many people there will be 4 generations in the home, this will have a dramatic impact on both our lives and our businesses. In addition, technology continues to transform so much about our lives, including the physical places we do business and the ways in which we communicate with colleagues and clients.
Businesses are only just adjusting their models to reflect the new economy and are engaged in a constant war for talent which will increase as employees take control of their working status, eager for training opportunities and flexible hours. Have you considered what this could mean for your business?
What will the global workforce look like in 2020?
1. Aging Workforce
Increased life expectancy, combined with a reduction in the UK government’s social support will be a key motivator for older workers to stay in employment, allowing them to be financially independent for longer.
The aging workforce will present both challenges and benefits to employers including talent management of a multi-generational workforce and knowledge transfer – the distribution of experience to new young employees to ensure they can be of maximum benefit to the business from the beginning. Leaders who can successfully manage these effects to meet business needs will enjoy increased employee satisfaction whilst harnessing years of experience and skills for commercial benefit.
By 2020, the global population will stand at 7.5 billion, with 60% migrating to live in cities and suburbs. During this time, the UK government plans to reduce net immigration to below 100,000 per year and largely restrict visas to skilled immigrants. This will encourage future immigration to meet skills shortages and offset the effects of the aging population on the UK workforce.
3. Generation Y – The Millennials
By 2020 almost 12 million job openings will be created by those retiring – in contrast, only 1.5 million new roles will be created.
The generation joining the workforce in 2020 will be the youngest members of the Millennial Generation, also known as Generation Y. Born between 1979 and 1999, this group of digital natives have grown up around new and constantly developing technology, making them more in tune with the potential of technology, and how it can influence the ways in which they contribute to the workplace over the next ten years.
Members of the Millennial Generation will harness developing technologies to reduce start-up and operating costs for new businesses. Forecasters predict that young professionals of 2020 will use mobile platforms to outsource key elements of business activity to infrastructure service companies, and join the emerging and profitable market of micro-businesses; similar to US expansion into this area, projected to grow by 7 million over the next decade.
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4. Part-time Employment
Part-time employment will continue to be a defining trend of the workforce in 2020 – although the driver will come from employee demand rather than economic imperative.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development found that two thirds of private sector companies were employing more staff than necessary for their level of output, in order to retain the specific skills their employees possessed. This approach was facilitated by a shift to part-time employment – the same CIPD report found that a third of employers had cut working hours during the economic crisis and the majority had not restored them to former levels.
David Curtis, Managing Director of Timewise Recruitment believes that employers (particularly SMEs) will see a huge benefit in being open to filling senior roles with part-time candidates, “SMEs are a driving force behind the UK economy and key to their success is an ability to be more flexible in their working approach. Research shows that SMEs use part time working more than the larger counterparts, and this can be a competitive advantage when recruiting”.
5. Women in the Workforce
By 2020 the rate at which women enter the workforce will grow with unprecedented velocity. According to an Intuit report, globally, 870 million women who have not previously participated in the mainstream economy will gain employment or start their own businesses.
The majority of these new employees will come from developing countries (822 million) as they benefit from increased access to education and migrate to cities in search of employment.
Closer to home, women will dominate entry into the UK professional workforce, taking up a 58% net increase in new jobs over the next decade. To enable this surge in workforce participation, businesses will begin to adopt increasingly flexible attitudes to conventional employment models.
In the search for balance between professional ambitions and traditional family life, some women can be expected to pursue – and secure – senior roles on a part-time basis.
Over the next decade, technology will transform where and how we do business. Half a million users will continue to join the internet every day, allowing them to connect with a global network of more than 2 billion people. By 2020, cloud technologies will facilitate the shift away from physical offices with employees plugged in to a single network, to anytime, anyplace working transcending traditional models.
There will be widespread business engagement with The Cloud, as it revolutionises our access to infinite computing power, without having to invest large sums of money in equipment.
Organisations that better understand what their data is telling them will be better prepared.
New job roles and expertise in the areas of data mining, data analytics, forecasting and data presentation will emerge. Data specialists will command high-profile job roles and generate significant rewards; for their organisations and themselves.
7. Creative Economy
The UK has the largest creative sector in the EU, employing over 2 million people. Technology start-up companies are one of the few sectors showing growth and job creation at a time of stagnation across much of the European economy.
Expect to see a continuation of entrepreneurial hubs – such as Silicon Roundabout – causing future graduates to develop new skill sets, harnessing their knowledge as ‘digital natives’ to innovate and create new businesses in the world’s capital cities.
What can business leaders learn from these insights?
Investment in technology and skills will drive the workforce of 2020. Growing businesses must accommodate changes in legislation, technology and employee behaviour to secure commercial prosperity.
Contingent working patterns and the return of the craftsman will transform the skills available for your business and the terms under which they can be accessed.
Above all, flexibility will be the key to retaining skilled workers but must be viewed in the context of overall business needs.
What do you think you will need to change in your business? Let's pool our ideas and see what really matters.