Australian women are anxious about the future of work

Australian women are anxious about the future of work

A new study released this week by homewares retailer, IKEA shows women in Australia are feeling decidedly anxious about the future of work.

In fact, 22 percent of women believe their future career path is out of their hands entirely compared to only 14 percent of men. 

Australians aren’t overly confident their employers are preparing for the future of work or their likely needs either. 45 percent of respondent did not feel their current workplace was setting them up for a relevant career in the future, while 7% of people felt unsure.

Richard Harries, Country HR Manager at IKEA said employers weren’t doing enough to alleviate the anxiety their workers were feeling about this issue. While he agrees the jobs landscape will change, and become more automated over coming years, he emphasises this will actually trigger positive outcomes for workers.

Increasing demands for transparency, unparalleled societal change, political and economic uncertainty, technology and an ageing workforce will see that the future of work will be completely different from today. We will not only see jobs change but also careers, skills, ways of working, processes, learning and development,” Harries says.

“We acknowledge that some tasks performed by people today may be replaced by technology, but we want to challenge negative perceptions around the impact of automation and technology and how this will affect people’s jobs.

“We want to see automation and technology used to streamline business and simplify the way things are done. While this will change workplaces, work types and workers, these technological advancements will ultimately give people the freedom to be curious, to innovate, to create, to realise their full potential.

Interestingly, the study showed some clear variances in how different generations viewed the future of work. Millennials were more likely to value leadership as most important in the future (26%) compared to just 9.2 percent of baby boomers.

Most of the country’s workers regardless of age, (82%) acknowledged that short term roles would become increasingly relevant in the future, however not everyone was convinced flexible roles would become ubiquitous. Half of Australians (49%) expected workplaces would require a mix of scheduled work and flexible hours in future years.

And Australians are banking on their employers to get the balance right.

More than half of those surveyed (64.7%) said that future job satisfaction could only be achieved if employers maintained the right balance between human and digital resources.

Let’s hope they listen.

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