The Future of Work

Welcome to our survey “The way we will work – in 2025 and beyond” conducted in partnership with HR Today.

The aim of our survey is to identify key trends in 6 main areas of HR and to predict what the workplace in Switzerland might look like by 2025. The study covers national and international companies in Switzerland from a wide range of industries and company sizes.

 

Introduction

Over 200 HR professionals took part in the survey, including many heads of HR and high-level executives. In addition, we conducted in-depth interviews with five HR directors from Actelion, ABB, Panalpina, Swisscom and Mobiliar. Our survey was conducted in autumn 2016.

The survey took place at a moment of geopolitical uncertainty, at a time when HR teams were facing challenges from digitisation, Generation Y’s new attitudes to work, fewer full time employees and pressures to deliver quick solutions in an increasingly fast paced business environment.

We believe, however, that these challenges are not a threat, but instead a great opportunity for HR departments to become centres of excellence and take on an increased role in the business strategy of their organisation.

We hope you find these insights useful and we welcome your feedback.

“As an HR professional you should be aware of tomorrow's trends today. Only that way can you be prepared for the future.”

Charles Donkor, Partner and Leader Human Capital Management, PwC Switzerland

 

Digitisation and the future of work

88% of our survey participants say technology breakthroughs will be the biggest influence on changes to the way we work over the next 5–10 years. 74% of participants cite demographic shifts, followed by resource scarcity and climate change (41%), and shifts in global economic power (39%).

52% of participants think digitisation will replace between 20% and 30% of current jobs by 2025. Smaller companies think they will lose fewer jobs to automation than larger companies.

 

In my company, we have a clear understanding of which digital capabilities will be needed of employees in the future. Please rate on a scale of 1-4:

In my company, we have a clear understanding of which digital capabilities will be needed of employees in the future. Please rate on a scale of 1-4:

 

68% of our participants believe that their companies have a clear, common understanding of what digitisation means, 29% think their company does not. But even though HR professionals feel their companies generally understand digitisation, only 57% of our participants believe that there is a clear understanding of the skills employees will need for a digital future.

So, are companies prepared for a digital way of working? Only 16% of our participants agree that their company is well prepared, 56% say their company is “somewhat prepared” and 28% think their company is not prepared at all.

Our survey participants also think the way we work will change, with 69% saying most of our work will be carried out remotely, 57% saying recruiting and promotion will be strongly influenced by data analytics, and 49% believe employees will work for several employers at the same time. 
 

In relation to anticipating the expected changes in the way of working. I think my company is:

In relation to anticipating the expected changes in the way of wokring. I think my company is:

 

Talent management

Increased flexibility is seen to be the major trend in talent management (26%), followed by employees being increasingly responsible for designing their own work (23%). Our survey participants also cite open and ongoing feedback systems (15%), and diversity of career models (15%) as talent management trends.

However, despite this more complex picture of the workforce, very few respondents say that they are using people analytics to support HR and business decisions. Only 5% see crowd sourcing as a major trend for talent management in their company, and only 5% see predictive people analytics as a major trend.

So how are flexible careers managed? An open job market postings system is the main tool for managing flexible career paths, according to our survey, although 13% of our respondents say that there are no flexible career paths available to employees in their company.

On the potential effects of the mass immigration initiative in Switzerland, 62% of participants think that their company is not preparing or do not know whether their company is preparing for the initiative. Only 8% think that their company has already put preparations into place.

 

“Tracing talent back”

Christian Albrich, Head Global Human Resources of biopharmaceutical company Actelion, talks about challenges, technologies and trends in talent management.


Read the whole interview here.

 

Compensation and benefits

Lifestyle incentives, such as working from home and flexible work times, are seen to be the most important incentives for the future. Lifestyle incentives are mentioned by 89% of our respondents, compared to 78% who mention base salary. Only 22% believe that long-term incentives such as shares and options will be important for a wider employee population. That may be because long-term incentives are often only available to management.

Measuring qualitative performance seems to be becoming more important. 72% of our respondents say that the measurement of qualitative performance, such as values and behaviours, will increase, while the importance of quantitative performance evaluation will decrease or stay the same.
 

I think that by 2025 the importance of bonus compared to fixed salary will:

I think that by 2025 the importance of bonus compared to fixed salary will:

Team performance is also increasing in importance, with 63% of respondents saying that the importance of team performance measurement will increase and 41% saying that individual performance measurement will decrease or stay the same.

The future of the bonus seems uncertain, with an almost even split of replies. 34% of our respondents say it will lose importance, 33% that it will gain importance, 27% that it will stay the same and 6% don’t know.

50% of respondents say that negative interest rates will lead to the development of new financial incentives within the next 2–5 years, but it is not clear how they think these new incentives will work.

 

“Culture of performance”

Jean-Christophe Deslarzes, Head of Human Resources at ABB, on principles, challenges and trends in compensation.

Read the whole interview here.

 

Mobility

Global mobility will become more important, particularly to bigger companies. 73% of our respondents working in companies with more than 100,000 employees think that global mobility will increase in importance in the future. Only 32-50% in smaller companies agree.

There will also be a move to shorter assignments of 3 months or up to a year. 44% of respondents expect an increase in short-term business travellers, although more employees (51%) than HR executives (34%) believe this to be the trend.  

More mobility and flexibility will require more people analytics. But our survey shows that only 10% of global mobility managers align business strategy, talent management and workforce planning systematically.
 

I think that the attractiveness of international assignments for employees coming to Switzerland will increase. Please rate on a scale of 1–4:

I think that the attractiveness of international assignments for employees coming to Switzerland will increase. Please rate on a scale of 1–4:


The survey results also point to three topics as the main challenges to global mobility:

  1. Costs related to the high Swiss franc
  2. Immigration controls – particularly a concern for companies in the health sector and with 151–500 employees
  3. Compliance with tax, social security and employment law regulations.

Nevertheless, 65% of respondents say that coming to Switzerland on assignment will become even more attractive in the future.

 

“There’s a lot more dialogue”

Karsten Breum, Chief Human Resources Officer of logistics group Panalpina, talks about challenges and trends in global mobility management. 
Read the whole interview here.

 

Organisation design

The big trend in organisation design for companies is to work together in networks, jointly hiring and sharing talent. More than half, 57%, of our participants think that their company will be generating most business value by working in multiple business networks in the future. 28% disagree, and 15% are not sure.

So how ready are companies to deal with change?

There is a split of opinion over the future of the Ulrich-Model, 35% do not believe the model will be the most important model for HR in the future, 34% believe it will and 30% do not know.

58% of our respondents say that their HR organisation is agile enough to deal with future trends, 39% say it is not. 83% of respondents in smaller companies say that they are ready to adapt to future change.
 

My HR organisation is agile enough to adapt swiftly to future developments

My HR organisation is agile enough to adapt swiftly to future developments


However, despite this perceived agility, 70% of our respondents say they have no dedicated resources for digitisation, culture transformation or organisation design. Instead, 45% of our participants say they have dedicated resources to change management and 47% have a dedicated person or team for HR compliance.

81% of our survey participants believe that HR departments will become centres of excellence in the future, with transactional functions outsourced. Only 13% of our respondents think that HR will be reduced to operational tasks.

 

“Orchestrating change”

Hans C. Werner, Group Leader of Human Resources and Member of the Group Management Board at Swisscom, talks about challenges and trends in organisational development and the role of HR.


Read the whole interview here.

 

Culture and change

Digitisation (21%), competition (17%) and growth and innovation (16%) are seen as the key drivers of cultural change in our survey.

Participants also believe that change initiatives are communicated clearly in their companies (70%), have clear leadership buy-in (68%) and are managed professionally (67%).
 

Assuming that companies will work more/exclusively within business networks in 2025, company culture will become

Assuming that companies will work more/exclusively within business networks in 2025, company culture will become


Three topics are seen to be the most important to prepare for change in HR organisations:

  • Change agility and employees’ readiness and ability to change
  • Encouragement of agility in all business processes
  • Quick adaptation and use of new technologies.

63% of our survey participants believe that company culture will grow in importance.

 

Nathalie Bourguenoud
“HR sees itself as being in the lead”

Nathalie Bourquenoud, Head of Human Development at Mobiliar, on the drivers of cultural change and the role of HR. Read the whole interview here.

 

Recommendations

These are some of the measures, which we think can help HR organisations to get ready for change in the future:

  • Use data analytics, to help to track flexible careers, a more fluid workforce, global mobility and an ever-increasing pace of business needs
  • Create a compelling and meaningful company culture to differentiate yourself as an employer and appeal to younger talent
  • Accompany digitisation with programmes to change employee attitudes and not just technology, and allow plenty of time to do so. Mindsets can take years to change and not just months.
  • Get ready for lifestyle incentives and measuring performance based on qualitative as well as quantitative criteria
  • Get ready for change internally in your own HR organisation, become centres of excellence and rethink how you allocate your own resources, for instance do you have enough dedicated staff assigned to digitisation? 

For more information on our findings and recommendations, take a look at our in-depth report below or contact any of our PwC People and Organisation Team members. We are happy to help and look forward to hearing your feedback.

Contact us

Hans Geene
Partner and Leader People and Organisation
Tel: +41 58 792 91 24
Email

Charles Donkor
Partner People and Organisation
Tel: +41 58 792 45 54
Email

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