NEW YORK, N.Y., Oct. 23, 2017 – Today, Guardian® released The Next Generation of Work, the first set of findings from the Fifth Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits StudySM.  According to the study, one-third of businesses and workers anticipate considerable change in the next five years to both the nature of work and required job skills.  

Automation is transforming the workplace. Employers that expect significant revenue and employment growth in the next five years are more likely to look ahead to the impact automation will have on their business and their workforce. Low-skill, low-wage jobs won’t be the only positions affected by this shift in the workplace. The study shows that highly compensated executives and professionals are not immune to the automation revolution.

Study Highlights

  • Workers in the Professional/ Financial Services and Construction industries are among the least likely to have taken steps to improve skills for this changing work environment. Surprisingly, these are two industries most likely to be impacted by automation and a drive for efficiency.
  • Twice as many businesses expect total employment to increase (38 percent) in the next five years compared with those anticipating downsizing (16 percent). Jobs will continue to change, and workers will be re-deployed and require skills in creativity, collaboration and communication.
  • Millennials are more likely to embrace opportunities to acquire new skills, such as taking on a new role, cross-training, making a career change or returning to school. Gen Xers, who still have 10 to 25 years before retirement, are less likely to have taken steps to improve skills. One in five Baby Boomers would retire when faced with significant work/job changes.
  • Nearly four in 10 employers indicate that staffing (including recruiting, hiring and training) is a top business challenge for their organization.
  • One in five U.S. companies expect an increase in their agile workforce in the coming five years as younger generations lean toward non-traditional employment arrangements, flexible schedules, part-time/contingent and non-permanent positions.

“As jobs are transformed by technology, businesses need to regularly update their workforce strategies to reduce the negative human impact of automation and plan their future workforce,” said Dean Del Vecchio, Executive Vice President, Chief Information Officer and Head of Enterprise Shared Services at Guardian. “Forecasting the skills they need and investing in workforce training will give proactive employers an advantage, while others may face skills gaps -- a defining characteristic of the next generation of work.”  

Through the study, Guardian has identified four steps employers can take now to prepare for a more automated workplace:

  • Make Recruiting and Learning a Top Priority: Modernize the workforce by implementing non-traditional recruitment strategies to unearth new talent; refresh job training and education methods to include experiential, retraining and cross-training programs, mentoring, e-learning initiatives and college tuition assistance.
  • Establish an Agile Workforce: Anticipate and respond to on-demand talent needs and secure specific skills required to remain competitive in a fast-paced, rapidly changing digital world.
  • Prepare for Demographic Shifts: Adapt workplace strategies for those who embrace a new work paradigm and choose flexible or remote work arrangements and non-traditional career paths.
  • Evolve the Organization’s Culture: Implement a change management strategy that enables the organization to adopt automation and digital solutions that can help overcome barriers such as poor communication and organizational silos, and improve customer centricity. 

Methodology

The Fifth Annual Guardian Workplace Benefits StudySM was fielded in spring 2017 and consisted of two online surveys: one among 2,000 benefits decision-makers (employers) and another among 1,700 full-time and 300 part-time working Americans (employees), allowing us to explore benefits issues from both perspectives.

For more information about Guardian’s workplace benefits solutions or to obtain a copy of the Study, please visit Guardian Insurance.

About Guardian

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian) is one of the largest mutual life insurers, with $7.4 billion in capital and $1.5 billion in operating income (before taxes and dividends to policyholders) in 2016. Founded in 1860, the company has paid dividends to policyholders every year since 1868. Its offerings range from life insurance, disability income insurance, annuities, and investments to dental and vision insurance and employee benefits. The company has approximately 9,000 employees and a network of over 2,750 financial representatives in 58 agencies nationwide. For more information about Guardian, please follow Guardian on FacebookLinkedInTwitter and YouTube.

Disclaimer

Financial information concerning The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® as of December 31, 2016, on a statutory basis: Admitted Assets = $51.9 Billion; Liabilities = $45.7 Billion (including $39.4 Billion of Reserves); and Surplus = $6.2 Billion.

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