As our love affair with capitalism continues unabated despite global job uncertainty, economic upheaval and youth restlessness, as the gap between rich and poor continues to widen and as global conglomerates amass more power and wealth, the one thing we can be sure of is that ‘the bottom line’ of companies will be put above all else.
1. Increased flexibility
Though history has shown this often doesn’t bode well for employees (as we have seen in the past with Qantas, Fairfax, Australia Post, mining companies and companies around the globe shedding jobs by the thousands in recent years), in the future it may mean increased business flexibility as technology minimises operating costs. This could lead to more businesses having finances freed up to invest in staff training and workplace improvement.
2. Workforce casualization
Casualization of the workforce is already underway and in the future it may very well be the norm, with people working 2 or more jobs and changing jobs every few years.
3. Staff wellbeing and productivity initiatives
Employee productivity is a major area of concern for employers today and will only continue to be so in the future. Words such as “green workplaces” and “wellness workplaces” are bandied about as various businesses experiment with fitness programs (as the obesity epidemic continues) and office improvement ideas to get the most out of their workers. This shift towards making workplaces more attractive to employees is a newer phenomenon and is based on the idea that the better you treat your staff, the more you will get out of them and the easier they will be to retain.
4. Evolving technology and working from home
Increased automation and the introduction of NBN plus other leaps and bounds made in communication technology, mobility and software such as cloud storage and Skype may very well allow many employees to work from home in the future. As automation makes our lives easier, the working week may be reduced (but this is unlikely as it would go against the grain of capitalism).
5. Decentralisation of businesses to regional areas
As rents continue to sky-rocket and our inner-city population density continues to explode, businesses will start to decentralise from Australian CBD’s and enter the suburbs and regional areas to decrease operating costs and ease the commute for workers. This could mean our regional centres will become like self-sufficient Village communities, where everything you need is contained within. This would see major infrastructure projects take place and a boom in employment.
6. The phasing out of low-skilled jobs
Low skilled jobs such as Hospitality, cleaning and so on will be automated meaning career options for low-skilled people will be very limited.
Regardless of how things turn out, there is no doubt we live in exciting times.