When water, then steam, power were harnessed to spin and weave cloth, a cottage craft turned into an industry overnight. Since then, further technological transformations have followed: Henry Ford's production line and the transistor are two 20th century examples while robots, hyper-connectivity and, potentially, 3D printing are examples from more recent times.i
But technology is just one of the factors affecting the world of work. Economics, demographics, sociological trends and government policies also reshape labour markets and determine how we will work for years ahead. Considering most people spend most of their time – and thus a large part of their lives – at work, such changes are central to us all. And the world of work is changing faster than ever.
The five drivers underpin five key trends for tomorrow's workforce. Mobility is gaining importance for employer and employee alike, while hyper-connectivity is making the location of work less relevant. Ageing population challenges make inclusion another important development, with ever more emphasis on diversity at work.
Tomorrow's workers will also be much more independent in terms their attitude - not just because of all those communications gadgets in their pockets. The result will be a new "work-life blend" in which a "job" is no longer confined to the traditional hours or places, with employees taking total control. And with greater volatility and flexibility the norm, tomorrow's workers will have a very different approach to their predecessors, most evident through a greater emphasis on "purpose" in job selection.