A year ago, the world looked a very different place. The relaxing of Covid restrictions was accompanied by a sense of cautious optimism. Fears in the early days of the pandemic of large-scale unemployment looked unduly pessimistic as pent-up demand fuelled economic growth.
At that time, I published a report Eight Drivers of Change – the future of work. This 2021 Report highlighted how businesses and their people were embracing the new-found flexibilities forced upon them through the pandemic. The future looked relatively rosy for many. In that context, I identified eight key drivers of change in society as a whole and in the workplace in particular. I considered how these interconnected drivers were accelerating change at an unprecedented scale and speed and how these changes were influencing the what, where, from where, when, how, how much/many, who and why of work.
A year later, the world looks a considerably darker, more volatile and less certain place. The consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been severe around the world. Energy and commodities have seen prices soaring, fuelling inflation unseen in most economies for 40 years and a cost of living crisis. Many countries are experiencing recessions or very low growth with the UK forecast to experience the longest recession since records began over the next two years.
In the context of these profound challenges, I have written a new publication – Eight Drivers of Change – 2022 and beyond. In this new Report I reflect on the extent to which key developments and events in the world over the last 12 months have impacted on the eight drivers of change, the eight emerging trends and eight predictions I identified in the 2021 Report a year ago. I also look ahead in this Report to consider how the world of work will evolve in the coming years. In doing so, I identify eight further emerging trends and predictions.
In this new Report I explore how the eight drivers are shaping the current labour market in the UK and the consequent impact on the world of work. I also take an in-depth look at the current economic position of the UK and how domestic economic and tax policy continue to impact significantly the world of work.
The world of work and society as a whole continue to change rapidly. Employers that can recognise, embrace and manage this change will be better able to prepare and navigate future uncertainty as these changes gather pace.
Both reports focus primarily on the position in the UK. However, in a globalised and increasingly connected world of work, both reports also consider the impact of the eight drivers on other countries and compare data for the UK with the other G7 nations to provide a wider context for the evolving landscape in the world of work.
These reports do not attempt to provide an in-depth analysis but instead provide an overview of how these interconnected drivers are accelerating change in the world of work. Alongside my analysis, I signpost cutting-edge research, studies, and commentary together with data and reports for further investigation, insight and detail.
James Davies, November 2022
Features of The Future of Work
“As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know”
Donald Rumsfeld, Former United States Secretary of Defense
Looking at the future of work, it is likely to be the unknown unknowns which will have the most profound impact in the years and decades ahead.