Get ready: how prepared are employees for the future of work?

Our latest WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing looks at a new index to measure worker ‘readiness’ for the future of work, at mergers in the flex-space market, and at new reports set to be launched at our Sydney conference

How ready is your workforce to tackle the future of work? A new international study called the ‘Readiness Index’ aims to statistically quantify what factors are driving ‘readiness’ and how it changes between different people and cultures.

The first findings of this three-year study – conducted by British HR services provider LHH – have uncovered the implicit and explicit factors that influence workers’ attitudes about their readiness for the future of work. The index’s purpose is to calculate the global Readiness Score of workers around the world.

The study has initially focused on the financial sector in the US, UK, and France where 2,000 participants across age groups were tested to provide a comprehensive understanding of the  processes that influence readiness for activities such as job transitions, taking on leadership roles, and participating in reskilling opportunities.

The initial findings reveal that the average global Readiness Score is high, at almost eight out of 10. However, there are several key differences which have been identified by gender, age and country.

‘Gen-Z are the most vulnerable group of workers…they are lacking workplace connections and training opportunities…’

The index shows a difference in readiness between men and women, who appeared to be less confident in their career trajectories. Despite 84 per cent of women feeling they have the skills needed to advance, study findings reveal that women are more anxious about their next career move than men. At the same time, men feel like they can grow their careers more than women – even though women feel like they have more opportunities to use their skills and learn in their current job.

The second key difference is between age groups. Gen Z – the latest entrants into the workforce – are the most vulnerable group of workers. Lack of in-person workplace connections, training opportunities and work-life balance have all impacted how Gen Z feel about remote work and their careers overall. The study revealed that more than half Gen Z workers were anxious about taking the next step in their careers, 34 per cent felt they could not use their existing skillset at work and did not get along with their colleagues, and 33 per cent felt they did not have control over the next steps in their careers.

Readiness to use technology is another key difference which transpired between age groups. More than one-third of respondents were identified as ‘technophobes’, expressing real worry over their jobs being replaced by automation and advanced technology. Technophobes between the ages of 45 to 54 were found to be working 40 per cent harder than their peers to keep up, while also demonstrating less self-belief. Almost a fifth of technophobes feel more anxious about work which can contribute to a higher risk of burnout.

Generally, the global readiness for the future of work is high, but there are key areas that  organisations should address to cultivate inclusive cultures. This study is part of a long-term global initiative which will see a worldwide rollout of the Readiness Index, and the next phase is to expand the study to more countries and sectors.

Flexible space shake-up

When WORKTECH Academy collaborated with architects AFK on a report looking at prospects for the flexible space market, our study predicted a big shake-up among providers and bright prospects for those who seize the future.

Right on cue, the sector is currently undergoing some of the changes that we forecast. The Office Group has agreed a £1.5 billion merger with fellow flexible space provider Fora, creating an operation with more than 3 million square feet of office space in the UK and Germany. And coworking giant IWG has merged its digital division with flexible space platform, the Instant Group, which is present in 18 countries.

These corporate moves represent one thing above all else: the search for scale. Our report predicted that the flexible workspace sector could grab as much as a fifth of the total UK office market by 2023. It’s a big ask, but key players in the field appear to be really going for it.

All set for Sydney

WORKTECH22 Sydney returns to the International Convention Centre Sydney this week with an insightful line-up of leading expert speakers scheduled to present their latest thinking on Thursday 24 March. As part of the event, WORKTECH Academy is launching two research reports with its Australian members: flexible workspace provider HUB Australia and property developer Mirvac.

The HUB Australia report is based on a series of interviews with industry experts in the flexible space market as well as a survey of 500 Australian workers. The report explores the impact of hybrid working on the future office. The Mirvac report looks at the question of whether the metrics for office space valuation should be revised from space-centric to human-centric in the light of the rise of hybrid and flexible working.

In our WORKTECH Wednesday Briefings, we reach out to our 10,000-plus Academy members, WORKTECH attendees, speakers, partners and sponsors while WORKTECH’s professional conference series continues through our in-person, virtual and hybrid platforms. This edition is posted 23 March 2022.
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