What workers want: Inclusivity, flexibility and digital skills

Workers are confident about the future and believe they can meet the challenges of automation following the workplace challenges posed by the pandemic, according to an extensive survey of workplace attitudes by consultancy firm, PWC.

Despite this headline positivity, many people think their current job is at risk and are concerned about job security because of automation and changing work patterns. Surveyed workers seem resigned to reduced job security, short-term employment arrangements, and significant changes to how work is completed.

For business owners and workers alike, the challenge is to develop new skills and enable ourselves to continue effective remote working so that we can continue to adapt to changing ways of working.

Fluidity is key. The current debate around returning to the office for a fixed number of days per week, seems to miss the point that fluidity is here to stay, and that both organisations and individuals need to be able to accommodate this with workplaces focussed on collaboration rather than desk space.

Workers want to reskill, many managed to successfully improve their digital skills during the pandemic and more than two thirds view training as a matter of personal responsibility.

One of the positives of the pandemic was the successful transition to high productivity remote working, where employees took the chance to demonstrate their ability to adopt new technologies and ways of working far faster than previously anticipated.

However, this is a clear disparity in access to opportunity with lower-skills and older workers less likely to gain employer support to improve their skills, even though this group have the largest need for these skills. Business leaders and governments need to create more inclusive opportunities for upskilling to support the continued employability and productivity of these groups.

Inclusivity (or lack of it) is viewed as harming career progression and access to training by a broad range of groups within the workforce. Organisations need to think deeply about how well they are harnessing the talents of their workforce, and how a broader diversity of perspectives will help them better serve their customers.   People want to work for organisations with integrity and purpose.

What’s the prize? Grasping the upskilling challenge could be worth £100bn to the UK economy by 2030 according to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Upskilling for Shared Prosperity’ report, as skill enhancements allow greater integration of human talent with advances in technology.

To help your workforce get the digital skills for the decade ahead, organisations are encouraged to seek flexible digital delivery, supported by tailored reinforcement over time and practical learning routines that maximise return on investment. From everyday routine use of digital tools to the technical skills that underpin organisational effectiveness there’s a route to a better working future for everyone, and accessible ways to start the journey.