In 2023, the future of jobs remains a topic of significant concern and curiosity, with many industries already adapting to rapid technological shifts.
The remarkable progress of technology, automation, and artificial intelligence has the ability to revolutionise business and transform the way we work - but how close are we to really utilising its power? And are other, arguably more critical, changes within the business sphere being drowned out in the AI buzz?
In the recent Future of Jobs Report, we noted five macro trends affecting job seekers, employees, businesses and consumers, from the increased need for creative thinking to the green revolution.
Discover how businesses like Nike are staying resilient to shifting landscapes below.
1) The race to fill skill gaps.
Skill needs are evolving at a rapid pace. So much so that it’s become a challenge for businesses to train and educate employees in pace with variables such as economic turbulence, digital advancements, and reduced commitment to long-term employment.
“Employers estimate that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years.”
When we look at future skills, there is a clear pattern perpetuated by emerging technology like AI - especially within entry-level roles. Tasks that were traditionally assigned to assistants and associates, such as data input, research, and scheduling, face the greatest threat from technological advancements.
For instance, task automation in 2027 is expected to affect 65% of information and data processing.
Because of this, we’re seeing two major demands in roles; ones towards skills that still require a “human touch” and ones that are able to utilise new tech tools. According to the report, here are the top ten skills increasing in value:
Curiosity and lifelong learning
Resilience, flexibility and agility
Systems thinking AI
Big data motivation
Talent management service orientation
However, skills like global citizenship, sensory-processing abilities, manual dexterity, endurance and precision are lowering in value (see this in the graph below).
For businesses looking to adopt new tech, understanding where you’ll feel a skill sink is paramount. And equally, you’ll need to build good strategies around hiring and upskilling to tackle this.
For candidates, the above trends may push your career into different currents - ensure you stay educated on what career paths may look like in your role and how best to skill up for the digital changes.
Of course, it’s important to note that skill microtrends will exist in each sector.
How flexible talent acquisition can help
Often, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to tackling a skill shortage, especially for large companies with complex designs.
Because of this, flexibility is essential to success; adopting this mindset can help manage changing skill needs, and weather economic pressures and consumer trends.
Additionally, more companies choose to work with a talent agency or consulting firm, giving them access to expertise, wider talent pools, efficiency in the hiring process, and specialised recruitment capabilities.
These agencies can become invaluable partners for companies seeking to streamline their recruitment efforts and find the best-fit candidates for their open positions. And better yet, it allows companies to remain resilient to changing trends.
Whether you need temporary or permanent staffing solutions,Freshminds offers long-term partnerships for ambitious organisations wanting to grow.
2) Creative thinking is a priority.
With the topic of AI governing business conversion left, right and centre, it’s becoming clearer what AI is capable of and what it isn’t.
We know that smart tech has the ability to automate admin tasks, reduce editorial stress, and organise data sets, but in terms of original and creative thought, it still lags behind. For now, I, Robot, is still a far-slung dystopia.
This means businesses are prioritising cognitive skills like Creative Thinking (ranked second as the most desired skill behind Analytic Thinking) and self-managing skills like Agility and Flexibility.
73.2% of businesses surveyed believe that Creative Thinking is the top skill increasing in importance for the workplace.
Creative thinking, while abstract, is an essential ingredient for driving innovation in any organisation. It’s especially pivotal during the ideation and strategy phases of any business shift, project scope, marketing campaign, and other initiatives. And we know change is happening at a rapid pace in business - making creativity even more of an instinctive and constant need.
At times, this skill set has been a badly understood concept - sidelined as a “marketing thing” and reduced to a branding colour palette or logo. But we’ve all witnessed the financial impact of a good idea.
How Nike turned a good idea into a gold idea
There’s no better example than when Nike collaborated with Michael Jordan in 1985. Before the partnership, Nike was suffering from poor sales (29% down), it had a reputation for Dad shoes, and it lacked the finesse of other competing companies like Adidas.
But what started as a small idea from people like Sonny Vaccaro and George Raveling turned into a goldmine investment. The company sold $100m worth of trainers and clothing in 1986 alone when the basketball superstar decided to collaborate on the famous Jordan Air trainers.
They recognised the power of association and trend-setting. And Nike has continued to dominate with creative campaigns, with 2022 sales of around $46.7bn.
3) The green evolution.
For many years, consumers and governments have pressured the business world into honouring the global vision of a green future.
Large-scale efforts to ensure global temperatures don’t rise by 2 degrees (as per the Paris Agreement) are predicted to cause disruption, but there is also promise in the jobs market.
In sectors such as Manufacturing, Energy and Materials, and Logistics, obvious transitions must be made to limit CO2 emissions and produce other cleaner alternatives. Unsurprisingly, these changes can result in job loss - some might say a necessary disruption.
However, this will also allow job creation.
With many emerging “green” roles, the green transition is estimated to create 30 million jobs by 2030, centring around clean energy and low-emission technology.
By 2030 the transition to a nature-positive economy in China alone is expected to add $1.9 trillion to the country’s economic worth and generate 88 million new jobs.
While the degree of prioritisation may vary among businesses, there is increased pressure to go green due to environmental concerns, cost savings, regulatory support, customer demand, and technological advancements.
4) Business transformation prioritises digital change.
Digital transformation is the most critical transition happening in business today. Technological advancements are being used to improve customer experience (largely, but not always), increase process efficiency, and more.
Most, if not all, sectors will be impacted by digital change. However, some industries are prioritising digitisation more than others. Research shows “Increased adoption of new and frontier technologies” are most important to:
Education and Training
Media, Entertainment and Sports
The second highest priority sector-wide is “Broadening digital access” - both are focused on managing the rapid changes we are witnessing in technology.
But it’s also important to point out that intention and implementation are separate things. As the report says,
“The human-machine frontier has shifted, with businesses introducing automation into their operations at a slower pace than previously anticipated.”
With every emerging tech tool, organisations need people to firstly understand it and then test it, showcase it, and eventually educate others on it. It can be a long, laborious process.
So, while automation within internal business structures is sure to increase - to what degree in the next five years is challenging to say.
5) DEI standards keep centre stage.
In today’s interconnected world, businesses understand the importance of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). But there has been some general criticism when it comes to bridging intention and policy.
Both consumers and employees have become suspicious and dissatisfied with companies that present as caring through clever marketing but have yet to tackle inclusion internally through hiring, training, and more.
The Future of Work Report does offer some encouragement, with data showing that 41.7% of organisations run DEI training for managers and 21.6% offer greater flexibility on degree requirements.
Additionally, DEI has proven to be particularly important to Gen Z, the latest organisation to enter the workforce. According to Manpower research, 56% of Gen Z workers would not accept a role without diverse leadership. This puts even more pressure on organisations that don’t want to lose new and exciting talent within the job market.
While there is always more work to be done - we can take some encouragement from the number of companies playing an active role in DEI initiatives.