On Digital Day, 25 October 2018, PwC conducted a major survey on the future of the working world. The results were then used in a brainstorming session where, together with visitors, PwC explored new ideas and visions for the job market of tomorrow. The results are clear: those who took part in the survey have a positive view of digitalisation and believe that people should be at the heart of the working world of the future.

The survey of over 1,000 visitors to the Digital Day event shows that for employees, autonomy and more room for creativity are the main requirements for the working world of the future. Amid digitalisation and far-reaching changes, people want a working world that places emphasis on the human aspect, and also want to do work that is relevant and has an impact on society. The demands on the employers of the future are high, and they should also conduct ethically sound business.

Those surveyed were generally positive about the digitalisation of the working world. However, the youngest of those surveyed, aged up to 25, expressed neutral opinions although they themselves are digital natives. They have mostly experienced digitalisation in their private lives and at school, but haven’t yet encountered it in the workplace. It is clear that the most positive responses came from the somewhat more experienced digital natives, the 26 to 35 age group. In the 36 to 45 age group, in addition to the majority of positive opinions, a certain level of scepticism was also apparent. The 46 and over age group expressed some trouble with the number of new technologies used and the speed at which these are being introduced.

More creativity thanks to technology

The positive perception of digitalisation is consistent with the desire for creativity and autonomy. Those who support the introduction of new technologies in the workplace hope that digitalisation will give them more time for creative tasks. Artificial intelligence and robots could be accepted as ‘colleagues’ if this was the result. In addition, during the brainstorming session, simplification of work, increased efficiency, high potential for innovation and easier access to information were the most frequently mentioned positives of digitalisation. However, there are also risks involved: data security, lack of social interaction and potential job losses were mentioned as negative aspects of digitalisation.

Openness, curiosity, agility and the ability to work in teams are the most important traits required to be successful in the job market of today and the future. Aside from technical skills such as programming ability, new ways of thinking are increasingly in demand. In order for employees to acquire these new skills, they need to be supported by the education system, the employer and the state, e.g. through further education programmes, advanced infrastructure and appropriate working conditions.

Conclusion

  • Amid digitalisation and far-reaching changes, Switzerland wants a working world that puts people at the forefront.
  • The demands on the employers of the future are high: more autonomy, more room for creativity, and ethically and ecologically sound behaviour.
  • The digitalisation of the working world is generally perceived positively. Scepticism increases with age, while opinion is divided among digital natives.
  • Those surveyed have high hopes of working together with digital ‘colleagues’, as new technologies reduce administrative chores and create space for more meaningful tasks.
  • It is clear that the basic prerequisite for the acceptance of digital helpers is data security.
  • The responsibility for a ‘human’ digital transformation is perceived as being in the hands of the education system and employers, with the older generation looking to the state for support.

The full report findings are available in English and German.

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not digitalswitzerland.

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Author Charles Donkor, Partner, People and Organisation, PwC Switzerland

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