• Organisational behaviour

Predicting the future of work

Predicting the future of work

Over the last year, Lynda Gratton led a research consortium of 21 companies and over 200 executives from around the world in an exploration of the look and feel of tomorrow's workplace. The conclusion? You will need to manage in new ways - and sooner than you think.

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Work is universal. But, how, why, where and when we work has never been so open to individual interpretation. The certainties of the past have been replaced by ambiguity, questions and the steady hum of technology. Now, in a groundbreaking research project covering 21 global companies and more than 200 executives, Lynda Gratton is making sense of the future of work. In this exclusive article she provides a preview of the real world of 21st century work.

You may be a Baby Boomer in your 50s with Gen Y children just joining the workforce; an alumnus of a business school, a 40-year-old Gen X preparing for 30 more years of work, with young Gen Z children; or an MBA student thinking about the years of work ahead of you.

Whatever your age, one of the most crucial questions you face is how the FORCES SHAPING THE FUTURE OF WORK future of work will develop and the impact on you and the organisations of which you are a member. If you are now aged 30, you can expect to work for the next 40 years — that means in 2050 you will be a member of the workforce. If you are 50, you can expect to be actively employed for another 20 years — that’s 2030. If you have young children, they could be working until 2070.

Work is, and always has been, one of the most defining aspects of our lives. It is where we meet our friends, excite ourselves and feel at our most creative and innovative. It can also be where we can feel our most frustrated, exasperated and taken for granted. Work matters — to us as individuals, to our family and friends and also to the communities and societies in which we live.

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  • AUTHORS

Lynda Gratton is Professor of Management Practice at London Business School. Her latest book is The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here (Published by Collins, May 2011).

"London Business School empowers individuals and organisations to perform at their best."

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