WORKING WORLD MODELS
PwC: THREE FUTURE MODELS
In 2014, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) produced a comprehensive report titled, “Future of Work, A Journey to 2022.” In it, PwC outlines three future working world scenarios. Each world is not mutually exclusive from others. In other words, the actual future world could easily be a mix of the three models.
- “Small Is Beautiful: Companies will break down into collaboration of networks of smaller organizations. Specialization will dominate the world economy.”
- “Corporate is King: Big company capitalism rules as organizations continue to grow bigger and individual preferences trump beliefs about social responsibility.”
- “Companies Care: Social responsibility will dominate the corporate agenda with concerns about changes in climate and demographics, and embedding sustainability becoming the key drivers of business.”
IBM: EVERYONE-TO-EVERYONE ECONOMY
The IBM Global Business Services Division believes that the digital technologies will lead to drastic changes in the economy. In the Digital Reinvention report titled “Digital Reinvention” prepared by Saul Berman, Anthony Marshall, and Nadia Leonelli, they describe how the economy will change. They explain that there are three different economies at play: 1. the organization-centered economy, 2. the individual-centered economy, and 3. the “everyone-to-everyone” economy.
- “Organization-centered economies are comprised of industries characterized by high barriers to entry and capital-intense production with larger enterprises controlling product.”
- The organization-centered economy was most prominent during the early part of the 20th century. This economy was driven and dominated by producer-driven consumption. Ford and its Model T is an example. They designed, manufactured, and sold standardized cars.
- Today, we are in the individual-centered economy. In other words, individual needs and wants are driving the economy. Companies today are developing differentiated products based on different customers. Additionally, they are focused on providing customers a seamless experience across channels. Furthermore, they are beginning to tap into analytics from their big data sources to help drive their products and operations.
- The “everyone-to-everyone” economy is “characterized by hyper-connectedness and collaboration of consumers and organizations across the gamut of value chain activities: co-design, co-creation, co-production, co-marketing, co-distribution and co-funding. In this integrated system, consumers and organizations work together to create value with transparency driving trust and effectiveness. The implication for value creation and allocation will be profound. Kiva.org, the microfinance non-profit site, is an example.”
EMPLOYMENT VS. CONTRACT LABOR
Companies typically staff up with temps during a recovery and convert them to permanent workers as conditions improve. That hasn’t been happening. According to an article in Forbes written by Elaine Pofeldt, “currently about 20-30% of the workforce in Fortune 100 companies is made up of ‘contingent’ workers: that percentage is expected to swell to 50% by 2020.”[i] As of 2013, the number of temporary jobs rose more than 50 percent since the recession in 2009.
The use of temporary employees has expanded into all sectors (e.g., lawyers, doctors). U.S., Adecco predicts that the “rate of growth in contingent workers will be 3-4 times the growth rate of traditional jobs and will soon comprise at least 30% or more of the global workforce.”[ii]
These temporary employment trends are symptomatic of a more basic dynamic. Companies do not last as long. Fortune started tracking Fortune 500 companies in 1955. Of the 500 companies on that list, only 71 were still there in 2008. Also, “a full one-third of the companies listed in the 1979 Fortune 500 had vanished by 1983…”[iii]
It is not certain that this trend toward temporary and contract work will continue. Unless businesses and the economy stabilize, however, this trend will likely continue. One thing is certain. To assume the economic environment will be the same as when our fathers or grandfathers had long-term and even life-time jobs—isn’t wise. It is estimated that workers today between the ages of 21 to 31 will likely have between 12 to 15 jobs.
CRITICAL SKILLS MOVING FORWARD
In many ways, I believe that program managers are better prepared for the future than most. In addition to having strong program management strengths, they often have outstanding product, project, and portfolio skills. They also typically have good product launch and marketing skills. It will also be important to have subject-matter experience. To prepare for the future, my recommendation is that program managers also need to find and focus on a particular niche where they can become an expert and even a thought-leader someday.
As subject-matter expertise, innovation, and technology become the backbone of future success, having the knowledge and skill sets below will become important across all fields or niches.
- Vision: The ability to see real needs and solutions and inspire others to work with you to work toward a compelling vision of the future
- Strategic Foresight: The capacity to identify and understand relevant trends. Being able to collect, interpret, and predict outcomes based on data and information; the skill of accurately forecasting outcomes and developing effective strategies and plans
- Problem-Solving: The skill to accurately understand root causes and develop solutions that successfully address problems
- Innovation: The capacity to create new or significantly improved products and services
- Thought Leadership: The skill to become an authority in your specialization or niche; committed to the field and to a better future
- Technology: The skill of understanding relevant technologies, seeing how to leverage them, see where they are going, and how to use or develop new technologies
- Marketing: The ability to understand current and future target customers and their needs; the skill of communicating in a way that helps people to learn about you or your organization and to want to purchase from you.
[i] Pofeldt, Elaine, “What You’ll Need to Know to Be the Boss in 2020.” Forbes. Forbes Media LLC, 3 Apr. 2012. Web, Oct. 2014.
[ii]Williams, Ray B., “The End Of Jobs As We Have Known Them.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers LLC, 9 Sep. 2012. Web, Oct. 2014.
[iii] Erickson, Tammy, “The Rise of the New Contract Worker.” Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business Publishing. 7 Sep. 2012. Web, Oct. 2014.
The Future of Work