A Brave New World of Work – skills and employment in the 4th Industrial Revolution


13 Jun 2019

A Brave New World of Work – skills and employment in the 4th Industrial Revolution

We asked Andrew Moore, CEO and Digital Officer at Digital Nexus Associates, former Chief Digital Officer at Intel and speaker at the Penna HR Dinner on the 20th of June 2019, how we need to adapt in our increasingly digital world.

We’re living through change, a time that some have called the 4thIndustrial Revolution. As with any period of extreme disruption, the rules of work get re-written. For businesses, this means adapt or die. 

But there are human consequences to disruption – people lose their livelihoods. Cities are dispossessed of their industries. But, ‘it’s just business’, and there will always be winners, and losers.  

Yet with big business embracing corporate social responsibility, and a millennial workforce who ‘care more about the social impact of their work and what the company stands for’ [1] than profit and success; are these attitudes viable?

Andrew Moore- CEO and Digital Officer at Digital Nexus Associates, former CDO at Intel and speaker at the Penna HR Dinner on the 20thof June 2019 - thinks change is needed. In his opinion, businesses have a responsibility to trailblaze technology and develop their people into digital natives.

Disruption, 2.0

Global disruption as it’s currently occurring is going beyond any of the revolutions in tech and industry we’ve seen before. Machines are becoming autonomous, building on the innovations of the 3rd (or digital) industrial revolution.

The definition between our physical world and the realm of data is blurring rapidly. Production lines in factories are now part man, part machine. Global economic flux is anticipated by algorithms. Even our homes are programmed to predict our consumer behaviour, thanks to the internet of things.

We asked Andrew Moore what he thought were the key tenets of the 4th Industrial Revolution; 

“Each time an Industrial Revolution arrives on the scene it impacts us all – as citizens and consumers, as large or small businesses, and across both public and private sectors. The fabric of our world is rewoven before our very eyes. 

“Consider for a moment the ‘purpose questioning’ impact the beginnings of 'Mobility as a Service' is already having on the Automotive Sector. Companies like Didi, Lyft, and, of course, Uber threaten to make personal car ownership a thing of the past. After all, why go to the trouble of purchasing, storing, maintaining and insuring a vehicle when you can summon one at the touch of button – and it could even cost less, to boot? 

“A survey carried out by Barclays surmised that by 2035, shared, autonomous vehicles could displace 40% of new car sales. In real terms, that means car manufacturers would need to reduce their manufacturing by around 50%. In this scenario can they realistically survive with the same business model? The answer is self-evident.” 

Clearly, organisations should already have embraced big data, made their processes leaner with AI and automation and be learning more about their audience with analytics. Ignoring these trends will send companies the way of Kodak or Blockbuster.

The place for people

In the wake of all this change – do people still have a place in the workforce?

The answer is, yes, of course. Deloitte’s 2019 Global Human Capital Trends predicts a move from jobs to super jobs; ‘as machines replace humans in doing routine work, jobs are evolving to require new combinations of human skills and capabilities’ [2] as well as including technical skillsets. So, a shift in mindset and skillset is required to operate in this brave new world of work. 

We asked Andrew Moore what should be done to develop a fit for the future workforce. In his opinion, this starts in the C-Suite:

“The leadership team needs to bring into sharp focus the major factors creating disruption and opportunity to collectively chart a path forward. A lack of digital literacy and skills often leads to narrow and ineffective strategies that have more in common with budget-cutting measures than true innovation.” 

Where the leadership team have a responsibility to define disruptive factors and decide the correct business reaction to them, they also have to create a culture able to deal with change. For Andrew Moore, transforming into a leaner and more adaptable organisation is key to this.

“As Peter Drucker once said 'culture eats strategy for breakfast'. Ultimately no transformation happens without the right people, the right culture, the right work practices, skills and behaviours. Further, don’t think you can replace people with technology or automate everything. Your people are stillyour most important asset.”

Disruption now requires extreme agility, a concentration on consumer need and digital capability at all levels of an organisation.  The overriding message from Andrew Moore is that you cannot keep playing your cards as if the game has not changed; ‘you can’t solely rely on yesteryears practices if you want a different outcome’. 

Join the Debate

To stay ahead, it’s imperative for organizations to innovate, 'fail fast', learn, iterate. It’s time to change, or become a statistic.

On the 20thof June, Andrew will share some observations on global disruption and how more progressive organisations are approaching a world where transformation has shifted from 'nice to have' to a crucial survival tool. 

If you’re a leading HRD in the private sector – we’d love to have you for dinner. To register your interest for Penna’s Private Sector HR Dinner, email Kirsty.clarke@penna.com.