Whether employers are ready or not, considerable changes are anticipated in the coming years on the nature of work and job skills required of employees, as automation and technology take their place in the workplace.

The shift to a more agile workforce is building momentum among employers of all sizes to better meet the need for on-demand, seasonal or temporary labor. The 9-to-5 desk-job model is falling to the wayside as teleworking grew 115% between 2005 and 2015, according to new research from Guardian.

One in five U.S. companies expect an increase in their agile workforce in the coming five years, Guardian notes in its study, and contrary to conventional wisdom, larger firms are even more likely to get behind an agile work culture and promote its benefits. Among firms with at least 1,000 employees, 28% anticipate an increase in their agile workforce in the next five years.

While automation is unlikely to eliminate jobs entirely in the next 10 years, it will most likely affect a majority of jobs to some extent. Some of the industries that can expect to see an increase in agile workforces include:

· Technology: 30%
· Hospitality: 26%
· Construction: 23%
· Retail: 22%

As technology replaces the more routine or repetitive tasks, workers will need to engage more often with machines as part of their everyday activities, and acquire new skills that will be in greater demand in the new age of automation.

And as technology opens up new avenues for how workers do work, it’s also providing new places for where employees get things done. The shift to a more agile workforce is building momentum among employers of all sizes to better meet the need for on-demand, seasonal or temporary labor, Guardian notes.

According to the insurance company, one in five U.S. companies is expecting an increase in their agile workforce over the next five years. And contrary to conventional wisdom, larger firms are even more likely to get behind an agile work culture and promote its benefits. Among firms with at least 1,000 employees, 28% anticipate an increase in their agile workforce in the next five years, according to the study.

To better handle the changing workforce and evolving technologies, Guardian offers employers the following steps to take as technology and automation makes their way into the workforce:

1. Make recruiting, learning a top priority: Modernize the workforce by implementing non-traditional recruitment strategies to unearth new talent; refresh job training and education methods to include experiential, retraining and cross-training programs, mentoring, e-learning initiatives and college tuition assistance.
2. Establish an agile workforce: Anticipate and respond to on-demand talent needs and secure specific skills required to remain competitive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing digital world.
3. Prepare for demographic shifts: Adapt workplace strategies for those who embrace a new work paradigm and choose flexible or remote work arrangements and non-traditional career paths.
4. Evolve the organization’s culture: Implement a change management strategy that enables the organization to adopt automation and digital solutions that can help overcome barriers such as poor communication and organizational silos, and improve customer centricity.

Guardian’s survey consisted of two online surveys: one among 2,000 benefits decision makers and another among 1,700 full-time and 300 part-time working Americans.

Register or login for access to this item and much more

All Employee Benefit News content is archived after seven days.

Community members receive:
  • All recent and archived articles
  • Conference offers and updates
  • A full menu of enewsletter options
  • Web seminars, white papers, ebooks

Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access