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Future of Work Part 1: Who

The world of work is undergoing a profound transformation. As we step further into the 21st century, the convergence of technology and human ingenuity is reshaping the very nature of employment. The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) has ushered in an era of unparalleled innovation and disruption. While economic growth shows signs of slowing on a global scale, technology and AI are gearing up to accelerate at an unprecedented pace. How does this dramatic change impact the future of work?

The stage is set for a dramatic shift in the employment landscape, where the lines between human and machine work roles blur, and the future of work appears increasingly intricate. In this blog, we will explore this intriguing juxtaposition of human potential and artificial intelligence, delving into the challenges, opportunities, and implications that this evolving paradigm brings. From the rise of AI in various industries to the impact on remote work trends, employee expectations, and the surge in demand for soft skills, our journey will uncover the intricate dance between humans and AI in the workplace of the future. Join us as we embark on a compelling exploration of the dynamic relationship between humanity and technology and prepare to navigate the path ahead with wisdom and foresight.

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While economic growth is forecast to slow on a global level, technology and AI are set to accelerate. According to the World Economic Forum, 85 million ‘human’ jobs will be displaced because of automation, and 97 million new AI-related positions will be created. Add to the mix the aftershock of recent geopolitical events, the drive for more remote working and shifting employee expectations and it begs the question of exactly how humans will feature in the workplace’s future.

A new job role landscape 

With the rise in automated technologies already underway, it’s reasonable to assume a wider introduction of AI and tech-related roles such as AI and Machine Learning specialists, cyber security specialists and cloud computing experts in the workforce. According to Quixy, by the end of 2023, AI will generate 2.3 million jobs, while the WEF forecasts large-scale job growth in education, agriculture, and growth of around 4 million digitally-enabled roles such as E-Commerce, Digital Transformation and Digital Marketing specialists. It also points to a big slide in demand for admin roles, traditional security, factory and commerce positions. All of this means that workers of the future are likely to spend less time on predictable tasks in the workplace, and more time applying soft skills such as managing people, communicating effectively and bringing their expertise.

The Future of Jobs Report 2023 from the World Economic Forum highlights the following fastest growing LinkedIn job postings from 2018 – 2023.

LinkedIn job postingAnnual Average percentage growth
1.         Talent Acquisition Associate53%
2.        Sustainability Analyst45%
3.        Sales Development Representative45%
4.        Customer Success Analyst43%
5.        Sustainability Specialist42%
6.        Customer Success Associate42%
7.        Growth Marketing Manager42%
8.        Talent Acquisition Partner41%
9.        Sustainability Manager40%
10.      Workplace Coordinator39%

Source: WEF_Future_of_Jobs_2023.pdf (

A rise in remote working

COVID-19 recalibrated our working environments in almost an instant. It proved firsthand how people can adapt to new working environments and brought to life the hidden skills of workforces.It also prompted a shift in attitudes and loyalty towards work, particularly for the increasing number of workers born post-1996. Many Gen Z and Millennial workers do not view work as central to their lives or place high value in job security. They want a strong work/life balance, purpose, opportunities to grow and flexible working patterns.

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A 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey found that work/life balance was a key issue for the younger generations. Surveying over 22,000 Gen Zs and Millennials across 44 countries, out of a possible five traits, balancing work and life came out as the top priority, before the need to live their life on their own terms, learn new skills, and be willing to continuously reinvent themselves and their passion for work. 

Similarly, a 2022 Statista report assessing ‘working from home’ opinions due to the pandemic finds:

  • Almost 80% of US employees say they are content working from home, with 42% stating they would work from home forever. In the UK, 34% say they love working from home.
  • 17% of US employees and 22% of UK employees stated that they like working from home but it has some challenges with resources, space and other people.
  • These statistics indicate that businesses need to look at those resources more closely, for instance, the communications technology they use.

‘Human’ skills at a premium

According to the UK’s National Foundation for Educational Research’s Skills Imperative report 2035, new technological developments alongside demographic and environmental shifts will transform employment over the next few decades. NFER researchers believe these changes will make way for more creative, critical thinking, problem solving and teamwork skills.  It makes sense that as AI and tech dominance build, we will hand over the heavy lifting of routine tasks to technology. But to reason, judge and take action on what the technology is telling us, we need those imperative soft skills only humans can offer.

Although the future capabilities of AI may someday undermine the uniqueness of human intelligence, for the moment, cognitive abilities are a key differentiator for humans. Many companies are already ahead of the game, recognising the importance of transferable skills such as emotional intelligence and critical thinking. But some are not, and according to People Management, the UK is losing £22bn a year through lack of soft skills training investments. Similarly, in the US, a survey by The Society for Human Resource Management shows that 64% of hiring managers believe the process of finding graduates with critical thinking skills is difficult. And 55% said the process of finding qualified applicants with interpersonal skills was also difficult.

Reinforcing the need to invest in soft skills training for the future, a soft skills study by Deloitte revealed the following:

  • Soft skill intensive jobs will grow 2.5 x faster than other jobs
  • Soft skill intensive jobs will make up 63% of all jobs by 2030
  • 42% of businesses need leadership skill development for the digital future

Source: PJ54338 – Deakin Digital (

A 2023 study from the Institute of Business Value also discovered that executives predict 40% of their workforce will need to reskill due to AI technology within the next three years, with many respondents highlighting the need for upskilling as a ‘top talent issue’.

The study also revealed:

  • CEOs believe generative AI will have the biggest consequences for entry level employees, with 18% believing this would have be an extreme impact
  • Only 6% stated an extreme impact of AGI on executive/senior managers
  • Only 3% of CEOs believe mid-management positions would be extremely impacted by generative AI. 

More age-diversity

With an ageing population and potential new legislation that will increase the retirement age in both the UK and the US in the future, the number of older workers is set to increase. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, in the US, the labour force of people aged 75 years and older is forecast to grow by 96.5% in the next 10 years, and is the only group whose participation rate is set to rise. Conversely, a work participation rate decline from 53.9% in 2020, to 49.6% in 2030 is expected from those aged between 16-24 years.

Future of Work 1.2

A wider pool of talent looks possible for the future but according to research from the Chartered Institute of People Development, only one fifth of employers have a board-level strategy in place to manage an older workforce. New people policies, practices and investments in back-to-work upskilling will help attract and retain a mature generation. The CIPD recommends a series of actions for employers, including more flexible working for those who may experience health barriers; training programs, and the overall support of health and well-being at work for older workers.

Preparing for more connected teams  

For both established companies and startups, skill needs and gaps, employee well-being and flexible working expectations must, of course, be key considerations. Greater fragmentation in the workforce means there’s a new imperative for unified communications, especially for those who need to stay connected to clients, candidates and colleagues on a daily basis. But looking after and getting the most from remote workers presents obstacles for those without the technology to keep everyone connected and performing well. In fact, a Forbes report states that 70% of people do not feel prepared for work. What can be done about that?

CloudCall’s systems were built to ensure sustained productivity through continued connectivity. 

Here’s how:

Stay updated

With CloudCall, team members can view one single source of truth for your contacts. Within each contact’s CRM record, the full history of communications including calls, texts, emails and notes can be accessed. Plus, with the Call Recordings feature, the calls themselves also get saved to the contact’s record. So, past calls can be reviewed if previous conversations need to be better understood.

Live support

Supervisors using our telephony system are able to swiftly hop on to calls and coach agents in real-time with our live support features. With the Monitor tool, you can listen in on conversations without joining, meaning agents don’t feel pressured during a call but benefit from valuable meaningful feedback immediately after the call is over. The Whisper feature allows for more experienced callers or managers to ‘whisper’ guidance on how to handle calls, without the recipient hearing. And, if it’s necessary to interrupt, the Barge tool can be used to take control of the call. Whether training new starters, or supporting colleagues on difficult calls, these features are some that our customers can’t do without. 

Future of Work 1.3
Better collaboration

There are a few different features of our integration that will help your remote teams not only collaborate more effectively, but gain insights and increase productivity at the same time. For example, sharing information about a contact via Instant Messaging.

Of course, the need for advanced human connectivity within human connection to prepare for the future world of work is just one side of the story. To be fully prepared, employers and businesses must also look at the intersection that exists between the human factors and the undeniable progression of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace.

Artificial Intelligence

AI is fast becoming a staple in communications strategies, improving operational efficiencies, producing targeted marketing campaigns, optimising processes and providing new ways to interact. Statista reports a global total corporate investment in AI of nearly 92 billion US dollars in 2022, while average funding for AI startups in the UK rose by 66% from 2021-2023, according to Startups. How will our working days be impacted further by AI development? What will the new dynamic be between humans and AI, and how can businesses alleviate and address the possible dangers?

A growth in Generative AI

Generative AI, a form of AI that generates multimedia content, has already stormed onto the scene.We are  already seeing it used successfully in Large Language Modes (LLMs) like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Using input data, algorithms learn patterns and structures to generate articles, compose music, create design collateral, code, and write emails. As well as offering a new level of efficiency, generative AI can use contextual awareness to personalise customer experiences, making interactions more human-like. And we can expect to see more. Technology news site, ZDNET, draws attention to the State of IT 2023 report by Salesforce which found nine out of 10 CIOs think generative AI has already gone mainstream.

According to IEEE Future Directions: “Depending on the industry, generative AI is expected to lead to an increase in workers productivity generating an incremental economic impact between 35% and 70% on top of the one produced by advanced analytics, machine learning and deep learning. This means over 6 trillion $ of economic impact worldwide.”

Furthermore, the areas that generative AI will likely have the biggest impact include:

  • Sales
  • Software Engineering for corporate IT
  • Marketing
  • Software Engineering for product development
  • Customer operations (management, care, …)
  • Product and R&D

Greater awareness of Artificial General Intelligence 

Narrow/weak AI such as Large Language Models may also signal the beginning of strong AI. One form of strong AI is Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) which, theoretically, has the ability to perform a wide range of autonomous tasks that mimic generalised human cognitive abilities. While there remains differing views on whether true AGI will ever be realised, it is beneficial to appreciate the potential it has to radically alter the workplace.

Co-author of ‘Rebooting AI’, Gary Marcus, says: “There is still an immense amount of work to be done in making machines that truly can comprehend and reason about the world around them.” While Google DeepMind CEO, Demis Hassabis, recently said in the Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival that: “AI intelligence systems would reach human-level cognition somewhere between ‘the next few years’ and ‘maybe within a decade.”

Interactions will become more engaging

From a customer engagement perspective, and, as generative AI models improve their responses to customers over time, and more data is collected, interactions will become more valuable and engaging. Here’s what we can expect:

  • 24/7 customer service using AI chatbots.
  • More human-like conversations using natural language with chatbots.
  • More accurate product recommendations.
  • Businesses using more predictive insights to make data-driven decisions.
  • Feedback analysed more across platforms, including social media, surveys and reviews to assess sentiment.
  • Businesses quickly turning feedback responses into useful and relevant content.
  • Fully automated data entry, reporting and task management.
  • The identification of hidden patterns and trends to source new opportunities.
  • More overall data-driven decision making.
  • The ability to judge customer sentiment and changing communication styles to improve engagement.
  • Hyper-personalised experiences generating unique outcomes and experiences.
  • Better collaboration with teams for more joined-up messaging and improved team cohesion. 
  • The demand for AGI skill-sets.
  • A greater ability to analyse customer behaviour and data. AGI will identify patterns to spot new opportunities and upsell at the right time.
  • An improvement in forecasting customer churn using advanced pattern recognition.
  • Empathy skills will improve, supporting more powerful customer conversations.

A wider introduction of AI ‘colleagues’

As AI technology gets handed more complex workplace tasks, it will become more ensconced in our working day, to the extent where we may consider AI a ‘colleague’. According to the Harvard Business Review, generative AI will ‘enhance, not erase customer service jobs’. The growth in digital humans may also signal another development in office support. Soulmachines, an AI animated software firm has already created digital humans utilised in around 50 organisations.

Professor of Information Systems at Indiana University Kelley School of Business, Alan Dennis, says: “Within a decade, we believe, managers at most companies are likely to have a digital human as an assistant or an employee.” 

New avenues for creativity and productivity

As more manual tasks are fulfilled by AI technology, and more time is freed for humans, new prospects for productivity and creativity emerge. In the future, we could see greater use of the following AI tools and techniques in the workplace:

  • AI-assisted brainstorming – where human creative blocks are eroded and techniques such as random word prompts are used to generate new ideas
  • AI image editing tools that remove the time-consuming process of editing backgrounds, adding special effects and adjusting lighting to create original artwork for design and marketing teams
  • AI data tools able to spot trends and dataset relationships, opening new paths to creative solutions and tools that use historical data and social media sentiment to project future trends
  • The use of AI to capture customer demographics, motivators, needs and behaviours to create personas and match with engaging new designs
  • More copywriting tools that remove productivity barriers such as writer’s block, or a lack of inspiration.
  • More UX design tools which are already being used to eliminate lengthy code writing.

The dangers and challenges of AI

Balancing the capabilities and limitations of AI

As personalised customer expectations soar, the level of engagement offered by AI will become the norm. However, at the moment, AI algorithms do not have the capability to fully understand the nuances and situational awareness needed for a rich and engaging conversation. Also, while AI can understand patterns, it cannot detect emotion to form an appropriate response, and does not understand cultural language differences such as the use of sayings and idioms. Businesses will need to appreciate the demands of customers by employing the best resources while also understanding the current limitations of AI.

Cyber security

Cybersecurity is considered to be one of the biggest AI risks. A study from Riversafe which surveyed 250 cybersecurity leaders found that:

  • 80% of cybersecurity leaders understand the biggest cyber threat to be AI
  • 76% had paused the delivery of AI in their business because of the cyber risk
  • 14% feel unconfident about their ability to protect against cyber attacks
  • 45% of businesses have a system in place to assess security risks

(Source: AI Unleashed: Navigating Cyber Risks Report as detailed in Cyber security leaders see AI as their biggest emerging cyber threat –

Future of Work 1.4

Data safety is a priority for all businesses. With the increase in AI technology, businesses should first of all gain a strong understanding of what the AI cyber risks are, continue to bolster their traditional cybersecurity techniques, and consider the use and safety of the AI tools they use. They may even consider the use of AI tools to better respond to security threats and to analyse data for cyber security risks.

Algorithmic bias and ethics

Although, for instance, AI recruitment software can offer an arguably more democratic approach to hiring by using data and removing guess work and subjectivity, paradoxically, there remains a broad risk of bias with AI algorithms. This bias may occur as a result of a number of factors including the data input, the type of programming used, or bias inherent in the way data is collected or chosen.

This may require a closer analysis from businesses in the future to not only prevent poor decision-making but to also support their Diversity Equity and Inclusion efforts. This was considered during one of our Blurple Panel webinars around building an inclusive future for LGBTQIA+ individuals within tech. Erin Casali, VP of Product Design at Xero, highlights the inherent bias within AI tools, and how these should be addressed to ensure an equitable future for all. By using consistently diverse and representative data, identifying biases and addressing the model of data used, companies can rework algorithms to make them more balanced and fairer. For instance, making algorithms transparent, performing fairness audits to check AI models are working well and forming diverse stakeholder groups to implement ethical guidelines that address accountability, transparency, and respect for human rights.

The legalities of AI  

AI has already prompted personal data privacy concerns due to the vast amounts of information it collects, and the potential to expose sensitive information. While businesses will need to look at new processes and policies to address this, they may also use AI to map sensitive data to ensure it is correctly stored or deleted. AI may again prove to be both a problem and a cure for Intellectual Property. As a result, the risks of copyright infringements, for example, the ownership of the content it uses have been called into question. For instance, Reuters recently reported that image media company, Getty Images, have accused Stability AI, a company which uses open-source AI tools, of breaching its copyright after using its images to train one of its systems. It’s a case that may determine new laws on AI.

AI regulation

Racing against the pace of AI evolution, global policymakers are working to craft and implement effective AI regulations, to gain a balance between leveraging AI and preventing the potential dangers. In the US, AI risk assessments are high priorities for the federal government, and the Algorithmic Accountability Act, which includes the requirement for businesses to evaluate the impact of automation techniques they use and sell, is currently subject to Congress debate. In March 2023, the UK government released a whitepaper detailing its plans for the implementation of a ‘pro-innovation’ approach to AI regulation. Although the government states that current UK laws and legal systems cover the emerging risks of AI, they acknowledge some risks have occurred or may occur beyond the remit of existing regulations. It’s therefore likely that businesses will need to prepare for new regulations over the next year, address the address as well as the need for AI legal and regulatory experts, and while readying themselves for AI compliance. 

Tips for being AI-prepared

As businesses look to increase their AI activities, training will likely take a front seat again, and increased investments in AI tech and tools seem inevitable. Not only will these moves ensure a competitive edge for businesses but they may also plug the gap with some of the more human challenges of the future. For example, as more discerning Gen Zs look for work with passion and meaning, the lack of manual and routine tasks in the workplace may mean employers can attract Gen Zs more easily. And with an impending age-diverse workforce, the increase in AI productivity may facilitate more appealing, manageable flexible working patterns for mature workers.

Future of Work 1.5

Whatever the outcome with AGI, it’s wise for businesses to be aware now of how it may be used in the future to create code, deliver content, analyse data and design products on a whole new level and to consider carefully how it will coexist with employees.

What you can do:

  • Gain a clear understanding of the benefit AI can provide and create a strategy
  • Ensure your organisation and customer data is organised. With the potential to integrate AI with existing CRM systems, if data is fragmented, it will be much more of a challenge if data is not structured
  • Understand clearly the dangers and risks associated with AI
  • Consider the future of current job roles and how AI may impact these
  • Think about testing or trialling AI technologies within your business, using those knowledgeable in AI to look at their impact and consider the risks
  • Continually share AI knowledge with employees.

The future of work

In the rapidly evolving landscape of work, the integration of humans and artificial intelligence presents both challenges and opportunities. As we’ve explored, AI is set to play an increasingly integral role in our professional lives, transforming the way we work, create, and interact. While it may displace certain jobs, it also creates new possibilities and demands a shift in our skill sets.

In this new era, the emphasis on soft skills, emotional intelligence, and adaptability becomes paramount. The rise of AI will free us from routine tasks, allowing us to focus on creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration. It will amplify our capabilities, offering us tools to enhance productivity and drive innovation.

However, we must navigate the dangers and challenges posed by AI, such as algorithmic bias, cybersecurity risks, and the legal complexities associated with it. As governments work on regulations to strike a balance between innovation and safety, businesses should prepare themselves for an AI-driven future.

In conclusion, embracing AI’s potential while addressing its limitations and ethical considerations is the path forward. The future of work will undoubtedly be a collaborative effort between humans and AI, where the synergy between the two will shape a more efficient, creative, and inclusive workplace. To thrive in this ever-changing environment, businesses and individuals alike must be AI-prepared, continuously adapting, and sharing knowledge to ensure a harmonious coexistence with technology.