Top Ten Work Trends Quarterly Updates

A diverse group of SIOP members are serving as Trend Champions for the people-related work trends that SIOP members collaboratively predicted to be the most impactful in 2021. Each Trend Champion has expertise in and professional passion for their trend subject. SIOP appreciates their service to the profession in providing quarterly updates on their chosen topics.

Find the full list of topics and links to the other Top 10 Work Trends here

The Latest on Trend #8: The Future of Work

2021 3rd Quarter Update

An editorial in Journal of Management titled “The Postpandemic Future of Work” presents a broad view of the characteristics, design, and challenges of future work, and includes an interesting discussion of “algocratic orchestration”, which refers to how programming schemes can be embedded in global software platforms to structure work for increasingly distributed, virtual workers. The author notes, “Working for algocratic organizations attracts individuals by promising autonomy. However, it also brings a set of challenges—that is, dysfunctional structures and unstable work conditions in algocratic organizations.” Clearly, there are tremendous implications for workers in a future increasingly governed by algorithms. 

If I may editorialize a bit myself, I find it stunning how quickly our world is changing, due to the parallel influences of AI and the ongoing pandemic. Increased virtualization and trends such as algocratic orchestration will tend to isolate us and dehumanize our working lives. Our field has a unique potential to help guide the future of work in a humane manner by supporting individual wellbeing in addition to organizational effectiveness. I hope that our perspective as psychologists allows us to safeguard humanity from the downsides of inevitable algorithmic growth, while simultaneously working to guide the benefits.

Looking ahead to Q4, here are a few resources related to the changing nature of work you may wish to tune into:

October 14-15: Digital Workplace Experience will be discussing the Future Workplace: Emerging Technology, Innovation, and Intelligent Platforms

November 3-5: APA’s Technology, Mind, and Society Virtual Conference promises to be an excellent source of cutting edge thinking on how psychology can help with tech use and adoption. 

Ongoing: If you’re interested in lighter fare, check out the new PBS docuseries on the Future of Work.
2021 2nd Quarter Update

The future of work continues to be influenced by the pandemic. Of late, there has been substantial media coverage of a phenomenon termed “the Great Resignation” by SIOP member Anthony Klotz. Klotz explains that the “pandemic has made many realize their job does not contribute enough (or at all) to their pursuit for happiness and meaning, and they have decided to invest their energy elsewhere — in new jobs, new careers or in other aspects of their lives (e.g., family, travel, creative endeavors).” Solutions include re-crafting jobs to support happiness and wellbeing and taking a job by job approach to identifying relevant barriers to employment.

The annual SIOP conference similarly included sessions on the future of work. Such as “Human-Agent Teams Will Revolutionize the Future of Work: Implications for I-O” which examined the growing stream of research on how humans can and will interact with autonomous AI of various types. Or “Obstacle or Opportunity for the Future of Work: The Age-Diverse Workforce”, highlighting that the workforce is becoming older and more age-diverse, and that there is a strong need for adults to continue working beyond normal retirement age.

Looking ahead to Q3, the discussion continues with many opportunities for discussion and learning. One the Digital Workplace Experience conference (July 15) is one example sure to generate ideas.


2021 1st Quarter Update

Discussion of the future of work centers on two major topics: the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on work automation and the gig/contractor economy. Of late, SIOP member Michael Couch spoke to a third topic to be added to the list: the pandemic and its eventual recovery. 

Technological and organizational progress are inevitable; we humans are driven to achieve. There is much to herald in our advances, and yet there are significant risks for individuals and our workforce. These include the need to reskill and upskill as available careers evolve, greater inequality, and supporting those whose jobs have been automated. The investor and technologist Kai-Fu Lee is advising organizations to prepare for AI-related disruption, and I/O psychologists are providing a holistic and updated systems framework that offers guidance on how macro-level trends in technology, climate, globalization, and more may impact the future of worker health and wellbeing. SIOP member Kevin Knifflin and his team recently published a broad review of the impact of COVID-19 on work, workers, and organizations that provides insights into relevant issues and guidance for future research.  

The upcoming SIOP annual conference includes a number of sessions related to the future of work including:

● Obstacle or Opportunity for the Future of Work: The Age-Diverse Workforce
● Beyond AI and Automation: (Often Overlooked) Challenges for the Future of Work
● The Future of Recruitment and Selection: The Pandemic and Beyond
● Human-Agent Teams Will Revolutionize the Future of Work: Implications for I-O


Champion: Eric Sydell, PhD

Eric Sydell, Phd

Eric Sydell is an industrial-organizational psychologist, seasoned entrepreneur, and skilled consultant with more than two decades of experience working in the recruiting technology and staffing industries. An expert in artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning, psychometrics, and their practical application in hiring, Eric regularly writes and speaks on these topics, both in the media and at academic and industry conferences, worldwide.   Eric was one of the founding scientists of Shaker International, an innovative hiring consulting and solutions firm, where he directed research and innovation. He currently serves as Executive Vice President of Innovation at Modern Hire, where he oversees all research and product innovation initiatives, including the data science-focused Labs team of PhD-level I-O psychologists and data scientists.