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Jul
10
The Future of Work
Blog post - The Future of Work

As many as 85% of future jobs don’t exist today.

Wait, what? Yes, 85% of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet, according to a report commissioned by Dell.

As someone with young boys, how on earth am I supposed to prepare them for future work then? How do I prepare them to thrive? More screen time? No… it must be no screen time?

“With all of these big strategic questions coming at me, I keep thinking about the person, the human in all of this change.”

As someone who leads a very large team, how am I to think about the upskilling and reskilling that each individual will require for the future? Do they know they are going to have to reskill or rethink their own work? How do I prepare them for this?

And as someone who needs to hire many new employees every year, how do I bring in talent that both serves our needs as an organization today and tomorrow, when the future of work is so uncertain?

Low unemployment, the gig economy, increased interest in entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence and big data… a potential overhaul of how we teach and, conversely, how we learn. With all of these big strategic questions coming at me, I keep thinking about the person, the human in all of this change.

What do humans need in order to find purpose and engagement in their work?

What do we need to thrive and remain connected to community? How quickly can we adapt and are we collectively being deliberate in where we want to go? And what are the implications for women in these changes?

“Initially when you’re starting a business, the last thing you’re thinking about is the “future” of work. You are full on in the current work. Barely time to lift your head to see the way forward.”

Studies like this one by McKinsey point out that women will need to invest in being skilled, mobile and tech savvy to adapt to the new world of work, given the patterns of jobs being lost, gained and changed.

As a Board member with Women’s Enterprise Centre, this past June I was fortunate to listen to the fabulous Sandra Miles of Miles HR as she provided an overview of the Future of Work. Every quarter, the Board meets and connects with different owners groups to gain perspective that helps us determine whether we are achieving our key goals.

In Canada and around the world, female entrepreneurs are a growing sector of the economy. They are being recognized more and more for the fact that women-owned businesses are often more profitable, and they invest more into their communities, but there are still inequities when it comes to investments in women-owned businesses.

Women’s Enterprise Centre offers tools, mentoring, advice and financing up to $150K to start and grow your business. Being able to provide additional insights on the topic of the future of work is another important resource.

Initially of course when you’re starting a business, the last thing you’re thinking about is the “future” of work. You are full on in the current work. Barely time to lift your head to see the way forward.

And yet, the future is really not very far away.

It is a balance, of course, to think operationally for today and strategically for tomorrow.

I would encourage you to reflect on where the work is going and the skills you will need… be deliberate in your thinking and really lean in to the individuals – the humans – who work with you.

Personally I’m still not sure if it all means more coding and computers for my kids or none of that at all.

Focus on the human elements perhaps – creativity, empathy, communication, and care.

I expect in another five years new research could show another path. For now, I will focus on helping others find purpose and engagement in their work. It seems like an essential ingredient regardless of the path.


Christine Bergeron

Christine Bergeron is a Women's Enterprise Centre board member and Senior VP of Member Experience & Community Engagement for Vancity. In her role at Vancity, Christine focuses on investing in organizations that impact the community, whether through environmental sustainability, social justice or community well-being.

See all posts by Christine

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