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Lisa Winnard: The workplace will have to adapt to changing demands

Employment practices will change dramatically when younger generations become the majority of the workforce.

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Working in Financial Services, it is difficult sometimes to keep abreast of the changes that affect us today, never mind thinking of what work will be like in the future.

With the changes we are working through on the RDR and MMR, we could be forgiven for not thinking beyond 2014. This is human nature, where there is a predisposition to focus on the here and now.

But it is worth considering what the world of work will look like in five or even 10 years time.

Last week I attended a couple of conferences, one within financial services and the other being an HR conference. The key theme at both was that of looking ahead to the future.

Zurich delivered a fantastic session looking at the world in 2018 and provided a whole range of insights, including the prediction that the world’s largest economies will be China, United States and India, with Spain being favourites to win the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

However, the key message was around the continued and likely increased need for financial advice in a world where we will have more personal responsibility and information available to us.

The world of work has changed beyond recognition in recent years. The majority of the UK workforce is now employed in service industries and almost half of today’s UK workforce is female. In addition, technology for most of us has transformed the work we do and the lives we lead. We can expect the coming decades to bring changes that are just as profound.

So let’s fast forward 10 years, and look at the workplace, where some have said that ‘work is no longer a place you go, it’s what you do’.

We will see millennials – those born between 1980 and 1995 – become 75 per cent of the workforce, which will create very different intergenerational dynamics. These ‘knowledge workers’ are uncomfortable with rigid corporate hierarchies, expect faster career progression, will seek more regular real time feedback and expect a far more flexible and improved work life balance.

This generation will force companies to be more transparent, tolerant of differences and individualism and expect more meaningful work. Working from home or the ‘coffice’ aka office/coffee shop, where all these workers will need is a phone, computer and internet connection.

It did occur to me that the ‘new world’ concepts and ways of working are not far away from the environment that many advisers work in today, where technology has hugely moved forward and flexible working and mobile working is a given. Furthermore, rarely do advisers work in hierarchical structures, whilst worthwhile and meaningful work is at the heart of what they do. So maybe it will be not be a major shift for advisers after all.

Whether you are a baby boomer, generation X or a millennial, you will need to be prepared for a new world of working coming your way. You will need to understand the needs and demands of all generational workers, particularly as we will see more of us working beyond retirement age. 

Lisa Winnard is HR director at Sesame Bankhall Group

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