February 28, 2017
The rise of the gig economy and social media platforms have pushed creative and design jobs up the salary ranks, according to the latest UK Job Market Report from Adzuna.co.uk. In January, average salaries in this sector saw an annual increase of 2.2 percent to £31,828, with its popularity being driven by factors such as the new digital age coupled with the expertise of graduates who step into the jobs market with a fresh outlook on social media channels such as Snapchat and Instagram, which are highly valuable to employees. Across the job market, the employment rate stands at 74.6 percent, the highest since comparable records began in 1971 according to the ONS. This has been helped by a record proportion of women in work, with so-called ‘returnships’ – a type of later-life work experience helping older people, predominantly women back into the workplace – boosting the figures. Immigration may have tailed off in the wake of Brexit, but this also previously helped stimulate the jobs market.
February 27, 2017
This is the second of two responses to an excellent article by Antony Slumbers, the first being this perspective from my mirrored room, in this instance offering that his views offer a far too presumptive picture of how technology will shape our work future. The paragraph headlines are from Antony’s original article. One person’s optimism is another’s pessimism. A decade ago the dream of liberated commute-free teleworking was, to many, the nightmare of enforced seclusion to the soundtrack of the dishwasher. The deployment of robots for the performance of menial tasks creating time and wealth for leisure is another’s horror at the loss of employment and resultant anomic fragmentation and decay. The fatally pointless optimism of Candide’s Dr Pangloss was agnostic in regard to every such outcome. It was positive only because there could be no alternative, and therefore no better alternative.
February 27, 2017
UK insurance firm Aviva has asked 16,000 of its employees whether they believe their jobs could be done better by robots. The consultation process will see those people who answer yes retrained for a new role within the business. Research by Oxford Martin School recently warned that 35 percent of jobs in the UK were in danger of automation over the next 20 years. Insurance underwriters were at the top of the list, rated 98.9 percent at risk. Despite frequent warnings that automation will disrupt a wide swath of industries, many workers believe that their own job is safe. This is in spite of warnings such as that from Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, who claimed recently that automation could put 15 million British jobs at risk, equivalent to nearly half of the 31.8 million people who work in the UK. Most recent research backs this up. A White House report from 2016 concluded that between 9 percent and 47 percent of all American jobs are vulnerable, including around 80 percent of jobs paying less than $20 an hour. Image: SoftBank Robotics
February 23, 2017
Implementing new technologies over the next 12 months is of primary importance for senior managers, with nearly two-fifths of finance directors saying digital transformation is one of their greatest priorities. Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty, chief financial officers (CFOs) are focusing on increasing profitability (41 percent) and driving overall company growth (39 percent) in the year ahead, according to research from, Robert Half Management Resources which claims that CFOs and finance directors (FDs) will assume more responsibility for balancing traditional financial responsibilities with developing business strategy. The use of temporary and interim professionals also looks set to continue with a third of CFOs and FDs planning to use temporary staff for business transformation projects to either fill vacated positions or support active expansion. In the long-term, 31 percent of finance executives plan to actively add new permanent positions to implement the company’s digitisation and automation efforts over the next 12 months.
February 22, 2017
University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Ed Hess and Katherine Ludwig have released a new book, Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age (Berrett-Koehler, January 2017), where they wrestle with the defining workplace question of our era and offer workable solutions for employees to stay relevant. In the book, Hess and Ludwig argue that workers of the world stand at the brink of an unprecedented transformation, as a coming age of smart machines promises to eliminate tens of millions of jobs across the socioeconomic spectrum. The transition to an era of widespread automation will be tumultuous for both companies and employees, and its effects on the fabric of society have not yet been fully considered by workers, government entities or global corporations.
February 22, 2017
Most North Americans believe their employers and IT teams should be doing more to unleash their capacity for innovation, according to a new study by Softchoice, a North American provider of IT solutions and managed services. The study, Enabling Innovation: When Actions Speak Louder Than Buzzwords, found just 37 percent of employees believe their employers are very innovative, and even fewer felt their organisation did a good job with other leading innovation indicators, such as anticipating market trends, taking risks, and investing in technology that enables innovation. The study is based on a survey of 1,000 full-time employees and 250 IT decision-makers across the U.S. and Canada to uncover whether workplaces really walk the walk when it comes to having the right leadership, culture, processes and technology tools to drive innovation.
February 20, 2017
Shifting digital dynamics are reshaping the way organisations operate and are recasting the traditional route to business success, claims new research into the rise of the digital workplace. Ricoh’s new report into digital workplace trends produced in partnership with polling company Censuswide, argues that the latest technology strategies are rendered useless without proper commitment to skills training and the empowerment of those workers who will be making use of it. It advises that businesses need to work on improving the workforce’s digital dexterity by creating an office culture fit for sharing ideas and skills across social, video and digital platforms. The report identifies digital skills training as a key differentiator for employees seeking a new job. Over a third of UK office workers (37 per cent) say they would move jobs to a company which offered better digital skills in the workplace. Likewise a modest 18 per cent of respondents rated their skills as ‘excellent’ whilst 51 per cent said ‘good’ and 30 per cent considered themselves ‘average.’
February 17, 2017
A new report commissioned by Samsung claims that by 2020, the impact that changes in society and technology will have upon the future of the workplace will elevate Human Resources (HR) to a powerful new role. The arrival of what Samsung calls the open economy will create a new environment in which a breed of ultra-flexible freelancers will prosper. Their arrival will present great opportunities for those organisations that embrace them but there will be significant challenges as well. Automation will be increasingly prevalent, but human skills will also rise in value as whole new job categories will be created around creativity, human judgement and intuition capabilities –positioning HR at the forefront of dealing with the significant industry changes. Emerging technology and artificial intelligence will undoubtedly create great change in many industries but it will also release human workers from mundane and repetitive tasks, liberating a workforce where human judgement and expertise becomes the centre of any organisation’s human resources.
February 16, 2017
The majority (79 percent) of workers say reliable and modern technology is more important to them than office aesthetics, while accessories such as ping pong tables, slides, hammocks and wacky office designs may look good in pictures, but they don’t necessarily make employees any happier or productive. The is according to a survey, conducted by storage firm Kiwi Movers, which found that 86 percent of UK adults who work in an office said fun features were of no specific value to their working life, 11 percent said they were nice-to-have and of some value and 3 percent said they were very valuable. The most popular office perks are those offer an immediate tangible benefit to the employee, but even so, as many as 23 percent don’t take advantage every day; while 71 percent overall said they’d like more space in their office and of those, 58 percent believe that could be achieved by removing non-essential items. The research also found that younger workers were more likely on average to take advantage of ‘environmental’ perks like chill out areas and recreational equipment.
February 15, 2017
In shows and the media, we are often invited to pass judgement on products and ideas that have been created by other people. The reviews that follow often cement some form of accepted view, even if we often outsource the decision making to people who are better placed to decide, or at least better enabled to express an opinion. Such judgements would not function at all in this regard unless there was some underlying consensus about what constitutes good and bad design at the same time that we all believed we know what good taste is and we all know a good piece of design when we see it. In so far as the consensus is universally accepted, we are all right. But how much do we really understand about the things that surround us and their design? And how meaningful is the consensus? In JG Ballard’s novel High Rise, recently made into a film, he writes of the disdain Anthony Royal, the architect of the eponymous tower has for the tastes of its residents.
February 14, 2017
Despite recent research suggesting that no job is safe from the introduction of robots to the workplace, the majority of British workers don’t seem to be overly concerned about the impact of new technology on their roles. In fact, more than two thirds (68 percent) are positive about the possible impacts of technology at work over the next ten years. This is according to a survey from Epson, which takes a closer look at UK workers’ attitudes. More than three quarters (76 percent) believe technology will open new possibilities for growth, and three quarters (75 percent) think it will increase organisations’ profits. Another 77 percent thinks new technologies will kill certain jobs, but more than half (55 percent) are ready to learn new skills and adapt. Just 16 percent of UK workers think companies are ‘excellent’ at monitoring technology advancements, and 12 percent think their companies are excellent at engaging with employees in the process of making decisions.
February 14, 2017
By 2021, more members of the global population will be using mobile phones (5.5 billion) than bank accounts (5.4 billion), running water (5.3 billion), or landlines (2.9 billion), according to the 11th annual Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast for 2016 to 2021. Strong growth in mobile users, smartphones and Internet of Things connections as well as network speed improvements and mobile video consumption are projected to increase mobile data traffic seven-fold over the next five years.