It’s an often cited but still astonishing fact that a person who saw the Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk in 1903 could easily have lived long enough to witness Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969. The pace of change in the world since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution has been quite incredible, but the changes we will experience in the next few decades are set to dwarf what has gone before.
This will be particularly true in the workplace: a report by the Oxford Martin School estimates that up to 47% of jobs in the USA could disappear through mechanization and computerization by 2035. Young people entering the workplace in the next few years will be facing a set of challenges that their parents could never have envisaged. In order to succeed in this new environment it is essential that they are prepared as early as possible for its demands, which is one of the vital aspects of my Vision Camps for those about to enter the adult world.
One of the biggest changes in the workplace will be the virtual abolition of the traditional corporate structure. Cathy Benko, vice-chair of Deloitte in San Francisco, estimates that companies have “flattened” their structure by around 25% in the past twenty-five years: the traditional steps up the corporate ladder have been replaced with a far more fluid, lattice-like model. This will encourage what Philippe de Ridder of the Board of Innovation terms “intrapreneurship,” i.e. employees will be valued for introducing the innovations more traditionally expected of entrepreneurs within the confines of their own companies. This opens many exciting prospects for new entrants to the job market, but only if they are equipped to think creatively and to work independently. This is why at our Vision Camps we teach this sort of open sky thinking; no matter what area of business or indeed life our guests end up in, the abilities they develop with us will give them the solid footing they need for the future that lies ahead.
An often-overlooked feature of the future workplace which is already rapidly expanding will be employer monitoring of employees: not of their work but of their physical well-being. BP, for example, already give free Fitbit health trackers to their employees to monitor their stress levels, sleep patterns and so on. Employees who reduce their weight, blood pressure etc. qualify for enhancements to their health plans. Some have found this sinister, but it’s a fact that it will become increasingly common in future. As a former sports coach, I recognize that fitness is something which needs to be attended to 24/7 – after all, it’s no good having a player doing all the right things in training if he’s immediately going to start smoking and drinking heavily as soon as he gets home. At our Vision Camps we provide our young guests with tools to keep both their bodies and minds healthy as they enter the world of employment through teaching healthy eating, exercise and relaxation techniques.
Every challenge offers opportunities to those who are prepared to seize them. With retirement ages rising across the globe, young people entering employment now may find themselves working for six decades or even more. Think about that! Six decades in which changes to the workplace which we can’t at present even imagine will take place. The person who thrives in this constantly shifting environment will be the one who has been prepared beforehand, who has a clear vision of their values and what they want to achieve in both work and life, which is why I feel that helping young people to clarify these things for themselves before entering the job market, through Vision Camp, is some of the most important work I’ve ever done.