What we know as work is changing. Automation and cognitive computing offer huge productivity potential, but also raise big questions about the nature of work and how humans can thrive in a cyber-physical world. What skills will be needed and how do we develop those capabilities in our people? How will ethical judgements and frameworks need to be reframed for a robotic, data-driven age? Our 2018 Global Alumni Survey, drawing on the views of over 9,000 professionals, offers a global perspective on these critical issues as organizations look to redefine the future of work.
Two priorities for the workforce of the future
Significant workforce shifts such as automation do not just create uncertainty for workers, they also create uncertainty for leaders. Organizations will need to not only drive an automation strategy, they will also need to upskill their workforce to transition to a machine-driven age. And, in a data-rich world, serious risks arise if your people are not equipped to answer new and complex ethical questions.
1. Building tomorrow’s skills, today
Smart machines are already making inroads into human roles, from how lawyers mine information to how journalists write news releases. But there are limits to what machines can do and tomorrow’s high-performing organizations will combine smart technologies with smart people.
Organizations are already looking to build the digital skills of their people. Global telco giant, AT&T, is reported to be investing $1 billion to reskill its global employee base for new jobs by 2020.
However, as well as digital skills, social and emotional capabilities will also be critical. Examples of these capabilities would be the ability to collaborate, or high comfort with ambiguity and change. When we asked our alumni to look back and identify the key skills that they learnt during their time at EY – and which continue to help them tackle their key challenges – they told us that “applying critical thinking” was top of the list.1