Technology is positioned to reshape the future of work. But without critical components—acceptance and adoption by people—it can never achieve its full impact. How will jobs change in the future? What jobs will organisations value most? How will the workforce change?

Today, freelancers add valuable skills and support on the fringes. But in the future, the “contingent workforce” will be a significant part of organisations: In the United States alone, the number of temporary workers is predicted to hit 6 million in 2020. In Australia it’s estimated that 28% of the working population comprises of contingent workers. Some organisations already employ significant numbers of “outer circle” colleagues as part of their strategy. Uber is an extreme example, as “outer circle” labour enables its business model, but more traditional firms are following the trend: ExxonMobil’s UK business consisted of 1,300 contractors and 3,000 employees in 2015.

The core of the organisation will be a team of strong players

Firms will rely on smaller core teams playing bigger roles at higher levels. The nature of these jobs will change: They will be more fluid than stable, with an even greater emphasis on collaboration and managing complexity. And as relationships between jobs become increasingly complicated, job descriptions will become “person” descriptions, influenced more by the talent of the person who fills the role than by traditional business requirements.

As jobs grow bigger, they will demand greater cognitive capabilities, because people will not only need greater knowledge and expertise; they must also be able to apply that know-how in unfamiliar situations. This may require greater levels of education, development for employees, or even the creation of new jobs.

There will be different jobs in the C-suite

We see new roles in the “inner circle” created at two levels, one reporting to the board and the other reporting to the C-suite.

Reporting to board level, we expect to see these leaders:

  • Chief data officer (CDO): responsible for enterprise-wide governance and deployment of information as a core business asset.
  • Chief information security officer (CISO): responsible for security of personnel, physical assets, and information in both digital and physical form.
  • Chief experience officer (CXO): responsible for the overall experience and impact of an organisation’s products and services.

Reporting into the C-suite, we expect to see this talent:

  • Data scientist: responsible, as a strategic rather than support role, for mining data and building models for business forecasting.
  • Digital security master: responsible for ensuring digital security of all organisation assets, including information, physical assets and personnel.
  • Experience marketer: responsible for the overall experience of an organisation’s products and services.

You need to prepare your organisation now.

To be future ready organisations need to link roles and strategy. They must:

  • Understand which roles can be outsourced and which should remain or be created internally.
  • Grasp the capabilities that the contingent workforce must bring to deliver on the strategy. Evaluate the size and scope of these roles.
  • Evaluate the size of the roles needed within the organisation and identify the capabilities people will need to fulfil them. Look for knowledge, problem-solving aptitude, and strong collaboration skills to get the best from the entire workforce.

Learn more about how to prepare your workforce for the future, download the report: Building Your Future Workforce. Complete the form in the right.

This article was co-authored by Fiona McIntosh and Heleen Cocu, Client Partners at Korn Ferry


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