The future workforce: Are you ready?

Mark Froud,  16 February 2018

The workplace is changing and we need new solutions. Mark Froud, Managing Director of The Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards, talks about two key difficulties facing organisations and asks business leaders to step up to the challenge.

The workplace is changing and we must change with it
The workplace is changing and we must change with it

In the run-up to our 2018 National Conference, we are running a series of think-pieces by sector leaders about key issues affecting our creative industries and the future of the workforce. 

There are two issues that politicians place in the “too difficult” pile.  Both are about changing business and employment models, and they are linked. As business leaders we need to start facing them and finding ways forward.

The rise of the gig economy

The first is well known. It is the breakdown of traditional employment modes.

Instead of full time and part time, we have a growing number of new relationships: the gig economy, zero-hours contracts, outsourcing, etc.

It is the breakdown of traditional employment modes.

This fractures the established employer-employee relationship and further weakens the notion of investing in your staff. That responsibility is being devolved to individuals.

This is not new for the creative and cultural sectors, but we’re seeing thousands of small businesses and self-employed workers who are struggling to overcome the lack of investment in skills development.

The future is automated

The second is the rise of automation and Artificial Intelligence.

For the manufacturing sector this is an old theme and one that they are well used to. But for the service sector, mundane tasks that follow set processes will, within 20 years, be carried out by robots and computers.

Does this mean the death of low skill employment? I don’t think so. New forms of employment will be needed that machines, whether physical or data driven, simply cannot do. Creative and customer responsive occupations may well grow as the need for the softer skills of empathy and customer service grow.

By embracing them we can develop the talent pool to ensure that all our citizens have a productive role to play.

Step up to the plate

These are challenges. By ignoring them we will ensure that employment is destroyed. But by embracing them we can develop the talent pool to ensure that all our citizens have a productive role to play.

The answers will vary by sector. The creative and cultural industries are already experiencing the first change, and the second is coming. A new paradigm needs to be developed.

 

Mark Froud is the Managing Director of The Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards


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