Blog Post

2019 CES Recap: The Future of Work is More Than the Latest Gadgets

Cornerstone Editors

Though it's known for its litany of cool gadgets (such as flying cars) and brazen software launches (like real-time language translation), CES, at its core, is a place for groundbreaking, technology-driven ideas to take hold—and the future of work is no exception.

In fact, this year the annual event featured a breakout series on the topic, including three panels devoted to exploring advancements in technology at work, recruiting trends, how companies are addressing the skills gap and more.

Here are four trends from the series set to influence the future of work in 2019 (and beyond):

Trend 1: Technology Is Entering the Workforce in a Big Way

As new innovations like blockchain, AI, AR and VR reshape the way we work, a growing demand for workers to build and support these technologies has emerged. Man and machine working alongside one another is no longer a sci-fi storyline, it's a reality.

CES speakers like Bonnie Lee, VP of Property Claims Line Management at Allstate Insurance, described how the use of technology has evolved what workers can do and how that work gets done. She shared an example of how Allstate utilized drone imaging to improve and streamline catastrophe property claims last year.

This move automated some of the most time-consuming work for the insurance company's field reps, helping them to move quickly and alleviating some of the stress involved with catastrophe claims for both Allstate workers and customers alike.

Trend 2: Educational Programs Will Close the Emerging Skills Gap

The current skills gap is prompting companies from every industry to seek talent in new ways. According to a report from recruiting software company iCIMS last fall, 46 percent of employers say that alternative experience (such as a coding boot camp) will be as meaningful a qualification for skilled tech jobs as a college degree within the next two years.

Forward-thinking companies aren't just sitting in wait for workers to get the skills they need on their own time, though. Panelists described several new initiatives they're offering designed to educate (or even re-educate) workers—including apprenticeships, internships, train-to-hire programs, coding boot camps, and vocational academies.

And these companies aren't just looking to build their own educational programs, they are also taking aim at redesigning traditional educational channels through calls for government involvement.

Trend 3: Companies Today "Compete on Culture More Than Compensation"

With unemployment rates at record lows and the economy booming, panelests urged employers to get much more creative when it comes to attracting talent. Simply scaling pay isn't going to cut it for a workforce rich with other options.

"When hiring, you have to compete more on culture than compensation," said David Lewis, CEO of HR consulting firm Operations Inc.

A casual dress code, work from home and other flexible remote options, or dogs in the office are just some buzzy tactics companies are using to market their culture to candidates. However, when it comes to what candidates want, many are missing the mark on one of the most important factors: career growth.

Candidates are eager to see testimonials around how employees have evolved roles over the years, websites that showcase meaningful work, or videos that demonstrate what it's like to work there.

While we've covered many of these ideas in the past, panelists were enthusiastic that 2019 was the year when many of them would come to fruition. 2019 is the future of work. According to CES panelists, we've arrived.

Photo: Creative Commons

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