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New Zealand – Ethical job automation and aging workforce among top predictions for future world of work: Hays

11 September 2019

Ethical job automation, collaborative workplaces and an aging workforce are among the trends that Hays forecast will have the greatest impact on New Zealand’s world of work in the next 20 years.

Hays also identified a people-focused culture, a wellbeing-centric workplace, a closing gender pay gap, non-biased bots and a battle against skill shortages, among its eight future world of work predictions.

“When we look back over the last 20 years, a dominant feature is the accelerating pace of change, which has brought us automation and AI, hybrid jobs and data-driven decision-making,” Adam Shapley, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand, said. “Flexible working, workplace diversity and the growing importance on employees’ soft skills have also been key themes.”

“Looking ahead, change will remain constant, but it will occur through an ethical lens,” Shapley said. “Conventional standards of wellness, work-life balance, mental health and diversity will be raised, jobs will be redesigned not eliminated in response to automation and a people-focused culture will see New Zealand become a model for the rest of the world on how to value ethical workplace decisions and wellbeing on equal terms to profit.”

On ethical job automation, Hays states workers displaced by automation will see their job redesigned and will in turn be reskilled into a non-routine, varied, valuable and creative role. Employers will still automate routine and repetitive tasks, but they’ll simultaneously upskill employees to perform the more highly-skilled tasks they are freed to carry out.

Meanwhile, Hays also predicts that organisational cultures will become more people-centred, with a focus on retaining people, not jobs. 

On a well-being centric workplace, Hays says flexible working, unlimited annual leave and practices and workplace wellbeing programs that allow employees to take better care of themselves will become standard.

On non-biased bots, Hays said with the data that AI provides, impartial decisions will be made, leading to more diverse and inclusive workplaces.

On the aging workforce, Hays states that the stigma surrounding ‘grey workers’ will disappear as their participation in the workforce increases and employers and colleagues alike come to understand the benefits of experience.

Looking ahead, greater pay transparency, parental leave equality and the adoption of AI tools in salary decisions to eliminate negotiations and any management or systems bias will help to reduce the pay gap further, according to Hays.

Hays also predicts that collaborative workplaces will allow people to work cross-functionally to collaborate to enrich innovation, creativity, productivity and efficiency.

On battling skill shortages, Hays said “skilled migration will remain a factor as global mobility becomes the norm. So too will a new model of recruitment, which utilises AI and data science to identify the best candidates for each role, regardless of whether they are currently job searching, and pinpoint what will successfully attract and retain each individual candidate.”


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