Based on our research and analysis, we predict that the connected work market will be worth almost US$63 billion globally by 2020, representing 35% average annual growth. This presents a huge opportunity to employers, recruiters and businesses, but will it be the innovators or changing demographics that will drive this opportunity?
One future vision sees us taking greater control over our ‘portfolio’ careers, contracting our time and talents to employers for defined projects, rather than serving as employees of a specific organisation. We’ll increasingly be members of collaborative professional networks, using online tools and forums to build a profile and connect with opportunities. Many of us (33% of our ‘connected living’ survey respondents who were currently in work) already use platforms such as LinkedIn that provide a profile to attract potential new employers and opportunities.
Technology also offers the promise of truly flexible working. Yet despite this, 63% of survey respondents choose to work from the same location and only 9% work remotely the whole time. Nearly half of the people we surveyed still stick to set hours, and switch off their connected work devices at the end of the day. The experience we get from being ‘at work’ with others still exerts a strong pull and many organisations recognise the economic case for having their people clustered in the same place. In the future, traditional office spaces may become more of a place for business communities and working groups than a full-time place to work and companies will have to be smarter in how they foster collaboration and a sense of community within teams who are working remotely.
But as the world of work becomes more connected and automated, will working patterns have to change dramatically? Some certainly believe that AI, robotics and cognitive machines will increasingly dictate the work that we do. But others place more emphasis on the power of people to determine their own work, with technology supporting, rather than controlling, what gets done and when.
The financial implications of new working patterns and employee/employer relationships are also a profound change. In a world where some may expect to live to 100, this will require a fundamental rethink about the provision and funding of pensions, for example.
Read more about the market potential for connected work here.