Both work and the workplace seem set to evolve in the next few years, with growing use of information and communication technology. One change is likely to be that sharing personal data with one’s employer will be seen as necessary and beneficial.

Future World of Work: Digital Tools, Personal Data Sharing

Technological breakthroughs are going to have a substantial impact on the world of work over the next five to ten years. This is the view of 53% of the people polled by multinational professional services specialist PwC for their latest survey, entitled ‘The future of work: A journey to 2022’. Some 10,000 employees in Germany, the UK, the US, China, and India were quizzed about their views on the future of work and workforce management. PwC also obtained additional input from 500 Human Resources professionals. Information and communication technology (ICT) innovations will make the greatest impact on ways of working in the future, with management of environmental, economic and demographic resources having a slightly lesser influence on work practices and organisation, predict the survey respondents.

Data sharing to help boost performance

A sensitive issue but nevertheless a key element will be employers making widespread use of the personal data of their staff with the aim of gaining a better understanding of employees’ motivations at work and improving their performance. Nearly a third of all respondents said they would be perfectly happy for their employers to use their personal data if this means their social media profile and health records. This response has a lot to do with the Generation Y-ers in the workforce, a cohort that will make up half of all employees by 2022. The research reveals that the younger generation are more comfortable with the idea of sharing their personal data with their employer, which they feel could help to improve their general wellbeing at work. Respondents predict that in the longer term, just as retailers collect information on their customers so as to help improve their product range, companies will use data-profiling for their employees.

Digital transformation: positive or negative impact?

Well over half (64%) of those surveyed by PwC believe that technology advances will improve their job prospects. The digital transformation is likely to radically shake up the concept of set working hours, bringing flexibility to the workplace but at the same time impacting the traditional cherished separation between people’s professional and private lives. PwC’s report reveals that 59% of those polled would be prepared to be permanently available and contactable via ICT devices in return for secure employment. This figure rises to 64% for workers in the Generation Y bracket. ICTs are not solely about opportunity, however. Some respondents see the new technologies as a threat, with a quarter of the workers polled worrying that automation is putting their current job at risk.

By Eliane HONG