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Humanity Works

Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future

By Alexandra Levit
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Humanity Works by Alexandra Levit

Humanity Works (2018) presents a critical examination of the future of work. Blending academic research with real-world examples, this forward-looking book explores how new technologies will augment human traits to transform even the most established industries.

Key idea 1 of 10

Workforces are changing, and companies must adapt to find new talent.

In the past few decades, there’s been a revolution not just in how we work, but in who is working. Just as PCs and tablets have replaced typewriters and landlines around the office, the makeup of the workforce has also undergone serious changes.

But why exactly is this happening? Well, there are a mix of factors. Falling fertility rates, increased immigration and new economic conditions are leading to changing life trajectories. These trends are easy to spot once you examine some statistics.

Let’s start with birth rates. In industrialized nations, these have steadily declined. For example, in 2016, the United States reported its lowest birthrate in a century, with Western European countries showing similar trends. A resulting population decline has been avoided with the help of immigration. In 1965, the United States had a foreign-born population of just five percent. Today, it’s closer to 14 percent. 

Lifestyle changes are compounding these demographic changes. Millennials – those born between 1980 and 1995 – have made up the majority of the workforce since 2015. Meanwhile, the Boomer generation, those 65 and up, have kept their jobs longer. According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, this is due to a combination of increased economic pressure from retirement and healthcare costs as well as a general desire to stay busy later in life. As a result, workplaces are struggling to cater to the expectations of two very different cohorts.

Given these trends, organizations and businesses will face a new set of challenges when it comes to attracting and keeping the best talent. Some sectors, such as health care, skilled trades and STEM fields, may experience increased labor shortages, as companies are slow to adapt to the new hiring landscape. 

For example, a study from the World Health Organization’s Global Health Observatory predicts that the healthcare industry will face a deficit of 15 million workers by 2030. To meet these demands, hiring managers will have to change their approach by hiring internationally. This means sourcing more workers from the global talent pool and adapting to more flexible, remote work arrangements.

In the next blink, we’ll examine how new technologies can both complicate these challenges and offer some potential solutions. 

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