The labor market in the future: What are the expectations for the coming years? | NTT DATA

Thu, 24 February 2022

The labor market in the future: What are the expectations for the coming years?

Thinking of the labor market in the future is a complex exercise, and it demands a realistic view of human behavior and its relationship with a disruptive technological scenario.

However, the more sensationalist predictions have made it challenging to identify precisely what characteristics and needs the professionals of the future will have in a post-digital transformation world.

This article summarizes the most important insights from the "Professionals of the Future." NTT DATA conducted the survey in partnership with Chazz, a global consultancy agency helping large companies deal with technology and business in 16 countries worldwide. Follow up!

Leaders vs. Employees: How do they foresee the labor market in the future?

The first insight in the study is that there is no consensus about the labor market for the next five years. That becomes clear when comparing the vision of the leaders and that of the employees.

Most of the 34 executives, from large companies and organizational culture and human behavior experts, believe that employees have a pessimistic view about the future of work, relating it to feelings such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Lack of confidence
  • Fear
  • Concern
  • Uncertainty

However, more than 3,000 employees who participated in the survey expressed an opinion totally different from the leaders and specialists imagined. When asked about their feelings regarding the future of the market for the next five years, the result was surprising:

  • 47% said optimism
  •  28% said hope
  • 27% said confidence
  • 23% said excitement

Fear of the unknown is a common concern among leaders and employees. But while leaders envision employees dealing negatively with this scenario, professionals believe that while they don't know what the future holds, they choose to look ahead optimistically.

The top four concerns of professionals of the future

Professionals have concerns about the future of work, and four of these concerns emerged from the study. Find out about them:

1 - Undervaluation of senior professionals

Forty-eight percent of the professionals are concerned that their experience will be less valued in the coming years when they will compete with young people born immersed in the digital universe.

2 - Human vs. machine relationship

Another concern is the technological advancement and potential substitution of people by software, robots, and other technological innovation.

3 - Difficulty in keeping up to date

With the market rapidly changing and information traveling faster than ever before, 47% of the professionals fear that they will not keep up to date in the coming years.

4 - Secure a position in the labor market in the future

Related to the previous concern, there is also uncertainty about the difficulty of getting a job in the labor market in five years, considering that the new digital strategies of the companies may change the employee profile.

And how about the future leader's role?

Now that we have an overview of how employees feel, it's time to understand what role leaders will play in dealing with the new challenges of the labor market in the future.

In general, the leader of the future will have to be a facilitator of relationships, understanding individuality, and behaving empathetically with their team.

We present some of the main facts that emphasize the importance of the leader being more humane and having the sensitivity to understand and deal with the team:

  • Some 54% of the respondents stated that it is essential for a leader to have good communication skills with the team.
  • The 40% want to have a leader who works closely with the team.
  • While 39% believe the leader should recognize when people on the team are not doing well, mentally, or emotionally, and know how to deal with it.

Top eight characteristics of the professional of the future

Regardless of the hierarchy level in companies, there are essential skills required for leaders, specialists, and employees in general to succeed. These are the eight most relevant characteristics for the labor market in the future.

1 - Creativity and Open-mindedness

If manual tasks are automated by technology, the staff member's role will be increasingly related to solving problems that rely on human intervention. For that, creativity and thinking "outside the box" will be needed to face the challenges of the labor market in the future.

2 - Flexibility and Adaptability

The pandemic has shown that the world and society can quickly change. Therefore, the professionals of the future must be flexible to understand the external context and transform themselves positively as necessary.

3 - Balance

Balance is the keyword in the future of work: learning to manage time, personal demands, and emotions will be an increasingly valued skill. After all, having additional self-control and resilience will be essential to face challenges and uncertainty.

4 - Communication and collaboration

Non-violent communication and professional eloquence will become a competitive advantage for the professional of the future, who will have to learn how to express their ideas clearly and with empathy, using collaboration as a key characteristic, rather than competitiveness.

5 - Continuous learning

Motivation and willingness to learn and re-learn should be part of the future professional's mindset, who will need to follow the fast-paced market evolutions and transformations.

6 - Results-oriented

The professional of the future must know how to define objectives and goals, execute action plans, and measure individual and collective results, always in line with the company's expectations.

7 - Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

The data-driven mentality is here to stay! Therefore, the professional of the future will have to analyze information within the given context, practicing a critical and investigative approach.

8 - Technology Mastery

Last but not least is the ability to deal with new technologies. More than that, it will be necessary to practice a humanized view of technology and its applications in everyday business.


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