All posts in Future of work

  • 2015 edition: The future of work in 27 powerful charts

    At least once a year, I collect the most interesting data and charts I’ve seen on the future of work into one long blog post. The only qualifying criteria is that they must have made me think deeply about the future of work. If you missed the 2014 edition, you can find it here.

    For this edition, I’ve collected 27 visuals. These are broken down into seven sections:

    1. Productivity growth and R&D investment
    2. Interesting stats on employee behaviour, tenure and work habits
    3. Jobs growth (the real drivers)
    4. The mobile evolution, user experience and design
    5. Females continue to be the driving force behind economic growth
    6. The ongoing evolution of trust (and marketing)
    7. The freelance workforce

    1. Productivity growth and R&D investment

    1A. Productivity growth is becoming less and less evenly distributed

    1A Productivity growth is becoming less and less evenly distributed

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  • Coffee, baristas and the future of the job market

    Free coffee wagon, Lotzen  (LOC)

    If you read much of the business press, you’ve probably seen plenty of articles talking about how many jobs new technology is set to destroy.

    Here’s a some good examples I found in five minutes of googling:

    As I was sitting in a coffee shop at the airport this morning, I was struck by the big flaw in this “computers to destroy jobs” thinking. The answer is in the coffee (and the number of people employed as baristas to be more specific).

    From the technical perspective, we haven’t needed humans to make coffee for us for 20-30 years.

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  • Information overload: Is there a breaking point?

    • The common view (that I’ve written about before) is that we’re reaching an information overload breaking point
    • But it turns out that humans have been complaining consistently about information overload since at least the 15th century
    • Information overload is very real at an individual level, but each generation deals better than the past. So good individual coping strategies are more important than system wide responses

    Two men on Northwest Airlines aircraft, one using typewriter, with female flight attendant in background

    The common view is that we’re about to hit breaking point for executive information overload

    I talk about information overload a lot with Australian executives. I’ve never had a high level exec tell me that they’re not suffering from information/email overload.

    I know that if I want to get a group of executives nodding along all I need to do is show this chart from Boston Consulting Group:
    BCG complexity index

    It always gets us onto talking about how the current rate of  growth in complexity and information just can’t continue.

    The conversation typically goes something like this:

    • “Look at the growth in complexity, it’s exponential!”
    • “That’s what it feels like trying to keep up with emails on a day-to-day basis”
    • “Growth in complexity just can’t continue at this rate. It’s just not possible”
    • “Humans aren’t like computers that obey Moore’s law. We can’t just upgrade – we’ve got basically fixed cognitive capacity”
    • “Something has to change dramatically soon, because we’re about to hit a breaking point”

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