With emerging technology rapidly reshaping the world of work, 'people not jobs' is a key message from PwC’s latest report.

The report, entitled 'Workforce of the future: the competing forces shaping 2030', noted that while organisations can't protect jobs which are made redundant by technology, they do have a responsibility to their people. It advised leaders to protect people not jobs through nurturing agility, adaptability and re-skilling.

Surveying 10,000 people globally, the report found that while the majority were positive about the impact of technology, there is still a concern that automation is putting their job at risk.

A majority of respondents believe technology will improve their job prospects (65%), and 37% were excited about the future world of work and seeing a world full of possibilities.

However, slightly more than a third of respondents (37%) believe automation is putting their job at risk, up from 33% in 2014. And over half (56%) think governments should take action needed to protect jobs from automation.

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Thankfully, nearly three quarters believed technology will never replace the human mind (73%) and the majority (86%) felt human skills will always be in demand.

Should automation replace their jobs, 74% have expressed the readiness to learn a new skill or completely retrain to keep themselves employable. At the same time, almost three quarters (74%) believe it’s their own responsibility to update their skills rather than relying on any employer.

Carol Stubbings, partner and joint global leader for people and organisation at PwC, commented: "The reality of life-long learning is biting amongst today’s workforce – no matter what age you are. The report found that 60% of respondents believe few people will have stable, long-term employment in the future.

"People are shifting from a qualification that would last a lifetime to thinking about new skills every few years, matched with ongoing development of personal skills such as risk management, leadership and emotional intelligence."

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Additionally, the report presented four future scenarios (worlds) for work in 2030 to demonstrate the possible outcomes that might evolve over the next ten years due to the impact of megatrends, artificial intelligence, automation and machine learning. These scenarios include:

  • The Red World where innovation rules In this world, agility and speed are essential, near-zero employee organisations are the norm, and a career, rather than being defined by an employer or institution, is built from individual blocks of skills, experience and networks.
  • The Blue World where corporate is king In this world, workforces are lean and exceptional talent is high in demand. Employers secure a core group of pivotal high-performers by offering excellent rewards but otherwise buy in flexible talent and skills as and when they’re needed.
  • The Green World where companies care In this world, the need for a powerful social conscience is paramount. Workers and consumers show loyalty towards organisations that do right by their employees and the wider world.
  • The Yellow World where humans come first In this world, workers and companies seek out greater meaning and relevance in what they do. The need for a powerful social conscience is paramount. Workers and consumers show loyalty towards organisations that do right by their employees and the wider world.
Jon Williams, partner and joint global leader, people and organisation at PwC, commented: "None of us can know with any certainty what the world will look like in 2030, but its likely facets of the four worlds will feature in some way and at some time. Machine learning and AI will help us do a much better job of workforce planning in the future, but we can’t sit back and wait for the future of work to happen. Those organisations and workers that understand potential futures, and what each might mean for them, and plan ahead, will be best prepared to succeed."

Photo / StockUnlimited