The future of work has arrived early with tech take-up

This WORKTECH Wednesday Briefing looks at how the post-pandemic technology boom has accelerated the future of work, and at Denmark’s world-first certification for data and IT security

The future of work has arrived. At least, that’s what a Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum has stated after new research revealed that, for the first time in history, job creation is slowing while job destruction is accelerating. This shift is driven by the rapid acceleration of automation into the job market throughout the pandemic.

The research suggests that by 2025 automation and a new division of labour between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million jobs globally in medium and large businesses across 15 industries and 26 economies.

The Future of Jobs report sets out to map the jobs and skills of the future. It looks at nearly 300 global companies, which collectively employ eight million workers. This edition of the report highlights that the roles in areas such as data entry, accounting and administrative support are decreasing in demand as automation and digitisation in the workplace increases.

‘The window of opportunity for proactive management is closing fast…’

More than 80 per cent of business executives are accelerating their plans to digitise work processes and deploy new technologies, and 50 per cent of employers expect to accelerate the automation of some roles in their companies.

This will have varying effects on the number of people employed by the company. Businesses appear split over whether to either increase, decrease or outsource their workforce. Some 43 per cent of businesses indicated that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, while 41 per cent plan to expand their use of contractors for specialised work, and 34 per cent plans to expand their workforce due to technology integration.

Despite the uncertainty around workforce size, the research firmly indicates that by 2025 employers will divide work between human and machines equally – and we need to act now to make the transition as smooth as possible. Saadia Zahidi of the World Economic Forum explained: ‘The window of opportunity for proactive management of this change is closing fast. Businesses, governments and workers must plan to urgently work together to implement a new vision for the global workforce’.

The wave of automation technology isn’t all bad news for the global workforce, however. As the economy and job markets evolve, 97 million new roles will emerge in fields such as artificial intelligence and content creation, as the fourth industrial revolution gathers pace. Roles that leverage human skills will continue to thrive, such as managing, advising, decision-making, reasoning, communication and interacting. There will also be a bigger emphasis on reskilling, upskilling and learning across the global workforce.

Denmark’s D-Seal

As automation threatens the global workforce, some countries are making a conscious effort to enforce trust between humans and machines. As of September 2021, Danish companies will be the first in the world to have a label to certify that they work responsibly with data and IT security. The ‘D-seal’, as it has been called, will be introduced this autumn as a key part of the Danish National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.

The D-seal will create digital trust for both customers and consumers, and it will drive digital accountability in companies. It will set out relevant and realistic criteria for companies of different sizes and sectors to implement. In order to obtain the D-seal label, companies must meet the required criteria defined by their business type – this includes IT security, privacy and data ethics.

The D-seal marks the first of its kind to join IT security and responsible use of data in one label. It aims to support companies and create an increased demand for digital accountability. The certification is supported by an advisory board of more than 20 experts who ensure that the D-seal helps companies apply best practice, the most recent research and relevant expert knowledge. All board members have backgrounds within IT security, law, privacy, business, and artificial intelligence.

The D-seal aims to make IT security and responsible data use a positive competitive advantage in the global business market.

Connected Copenhagen

Denmark, along with its Nordic neighbours, is often regarded as in the vanguard of workplace innovation and employee satisfaction. Not only is the country making the first waves in achieving digital trust, it is the pioneer of simple and effective workplace design and architecture. In recognising this, WORKTECH Events is running its first in-person conference since the advent of the global pandemic at the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen.

The event will be held on the 6 October 2021 and will tackle the core challenges facing the world of work today. Uli Bloom of Zaha Hadid Architects will explore the intersection of technology and design in his talk on high-performing workplaces, while Tim Ahrensbach of Lego will shed light on how the company is introducing hybrid working. The event will showcase best practice and expert insights from across a global network of industry professionals. Register for the event here.

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 virtual platforms. This edition is posted 1 September 2021.
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