December 28, 2018
By Zabeen Hirji, Stephen Harrington
If the idea of artificial intelligence (AI) conjures visions of robots taking over human jobs, this is not surprising. It is a widespread image. Countless media stories paint a picture of technology irrevocably altering employment realities. Yet, the truth is, technology is not the sole driver of this change. Shifting demographics and changing societal expectations are also fundamentally transforming the workforce.
Longer lifespans mean longer careers, which heightens intergenerational competition for jobs, with people constantly having to reinvent themselves. As well, we are seeing a more diverse workforce. At the same time, we see the rise of the social enterprise, with organizations pursuing profit with purpose and adding social impact as an objective. With all these changes already occurring, supporting employees to transition to what the future of work will bring is the smart and right thing to do.
Combined, these disruptive technological and social forces signal that there needs to be a shift in the way we think about work and about jobs. Businesses, governments and employees alike must re-envision what the future of work will bring. So what actions can be taken?
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Zabeen Hirji is global adviser for the Future of Work program at Deloitte, advising the firm and its clients. She also advises governments on diversity and inclusion, and she chairs CivicAction, a city-building organization.