The discussion of the changes in the workforce has been reignited over the past few years, due to the evidence of computers substituting many jobs. (Schwab, 2016). Also, empirical analyses provide estimations of labor market disruptions. One of them is, one in ten jobs have a probability to be automatized in the coming years, repetitive manual tasks are far more susceptible to automation than others (Cukier, 2019). However, according to Stoepfgeshoff (2018), automation will substitute some jobs, but also will complement them in a way that leads to an even higher demand for labour.

Middle and low-skilled jobs will be more susceptible to automation, but there will be continued demand for high-skilled workers with a mixture of capabilities in the use of technology.

Several business consulting reports address that the hard skills in demand by 2022 will include: analytical thinking, innovation, active learning, technology design and programming, system evaluation, analysis, mathematics, active listening, data analysis, data and digital literacy, judgment and decision-making. (Ernest & Young, 2019; WEFORUM, 2018).

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On the other hand, soft skills such as creativity, originality, critical thinking, persuasion, negotiation, attention to detail, resilience, flexibility and complex problem-solving will likewise retain or increase their value. (WEFORUM, 2018). Nevertheless, the current world businesses have the biggest threat of finding the soft skills needed, such as problem-solving, adaptability, collaboration, leadership, creativity and innovation are in the top list. (PwC, 2018). This will create an even bigger gap between the future skills needed and the trained workforce.

In addition, WEFORUM (2018) expands into the roles with the highest demand in the future that are significantly based of technology such as Data Analysts, Scientists, Software, Applications Developers, E-commerce, and Social Media Specialists.

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Nevertheless, as more individual tasks become automated there will be people without the desirable skills for the new economy and new jobs without qualified (Cukier, 2019). Plenty of workers are at risk of their roles become obsolete as it happened in the previous revolutions. In contrast, PwC (2018) believes the real story is far more complicated. They propose to focus less on technological innovation and more on how humans decide to use that technology. This key statement describes how HRM and individual workers can develop and follow strategies to have a competitive advantage through technology.

According to Ernest & Young (2019), the traditional roles, organizational structures and people processes that fail to be dynamic with technology will be challenged or discarded. The perception of the entire organization is affected and requires adapting their strategies to the 4IR is supported by (Cukier, 2019; PwC, 2018; Schwab, 2016; Stoepfgeshoff, 2018; WEFORUM, 2018). Therefore, organizations need to bring their strategic management and planning across the workforce so they can identify the intersections of technology on roles and people.

Human Resources Management and the future of work.

Human Resources Management (HRM) is defined by the (University of Minnesota, 2016) as the process of employing the workforce, training them, compensating the workers, developing policies relating to them, and developing strategies to retain them. Moreover, the role of HRM practices in Research & Developing collaboration strategies is looking first at employment practices such as job-training the current workers, restructuring of responsibilities within teams and external acquisition of labor. (Roy, 2018) In addition, DiClaudio (2019) mentioned that workforce analytics will be critical to effective decision-making, both for HR and the business, and will have a bigger role in driving employee experience through deep insights into employee needs and behaviors.

This is the reason why HRM department needs to be aware of the 4IR and the future of work to develop business strategies, organization design, and change management. As a strategic partner, HRM requires to extend their focus to provide a perspective and knowledge of the human capital future factors and the organizational changes that are critical in determining whether a strategy can be implemented. (Lawler, 2012).

Subsequently, Diaz-Fernandez et al. (2015) suggest that innovation is positively related to a higher level of performance and HRM can contribute to innovation by developing core capabilities and influencing employee behavior in the desired strategic direction. In the same way, organizations should involve helping to close the gap of skills in the workforce by easing the routes to training and retraining, encouraging, promoting adaptability and the valued skills of leadership, creativity and innovation. (PwC, 2018). However, if the HRM department has not included the skills from the future of work into its strategic plan, it would create a gap in management performance in the organization.

In Business strategies, one of the biggest challenges is the cost of management. The HRM strategies are based on balancing how much, how many, or how often benefits should be offered, without sacrificing employee motivation. If the goal is to hire the best-skilled people, businesses need to be aware that cutting cost in benefits would affect their talent attraction (University of Minnesota, 2016). In addition, is expected that firms providing greater training and employability conditions are more willing to engage in cooperation relationships to absorb complementary knowledge of their partners than firms with lower investment in human capital (Roy, 2018).

The HRM needs flexible and low-cost investment strategies that can be combined with available training and support such as new programs that apply social innovation and inclusion strategies to work-integrated learning programs and recruitment and job-matching platforms (Cukier, 2019).

Cite this page

Future of work: Skills & Roles. (2021, Dec 01). Retrieved from

Future of work: Skills & Roles

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