Future Ideas believes that India works in communities (ethnic, regional, professional etc). Work itself in India has created many communities that have given groups of people a way of life and an identity. Professions have created legitimate ways of being, work-hours, dress codes, language, purpose, meaning and motivation. Currently the professions govern India’s work habits and behaviour. The self employed, the white collared, the public servants / government workers, and blue-collared workers. Each of the working communities operates their own ecosystem and the motivation for their work is different.
For example, if we compare the self-employed traders, entrepreneurs or the small businessmen with the white collared we see a stark variance. The self-employed are masters of their own will; there is seamlessness in their personal and private lives. Business for them is a reflection of their family legacy. Work for them is a continuation of life, it is much more than a pay packet; it is a social system.
Whereas, we see that the white collared people comply, they follow set rules, processes and systems. Work has timings; personal and professional lives are lived separately. Pay packets, titles, address of work are important motivations for them.
However, it is also important to look at the opportunity landscape of India that created choices and motivations. The majority of those who joined the work force in the eighties and earlier were more defined by destiny, rather than choice on what they worked on. It was a nation tasting freedom - economic opportunities were few and the most coveted jobs were with the government or government- owned businesses.
All that changed in the nineties and the early 21st century, when economic liberalization and integration of the world was beginning. Many new industries, policies and global needs shaped the idea of work and aspiration in India. This was the time, when the work force at large was looking at work as a fund to buy security and well being for their families. We see here that work, acts as a marketplace wherein skills and knowledge are traded continuously.
By 2030, the composition and nature of the work force in India would have gone through a dramatic change. A third distinct generation of generational wave will be entering the work force in India, composed of those who are currently students in the schools and colleges of India.
The first generation were of people born in an India tasting freedom; the second of a generation were of those who enjoyed the fruits of democracy (the current India) and by 2030 India will see the children of liberalized India shaping its destiny in an opportune global world.
With the third generation entering the workforce by 2030, we see a new set of communities emerging in the workspace. A large number of these communities will be of people who will pursue passion. Many will look at work as an avenue to discover themselves, find their own purpose and element. Ideas of recreation, leisure and work will interact seamlessly. Livelihood and passion will be combined effortlessly with work. By 2030, we see four distinct groups or communities emerging. We call them – The Dreamers, The Chasers, The Free Agents and The Floaters.
For The Dreamers, the primary motivation will be to pursue what they are passionate about. New opportunities in technology and global trends, coupled with advancement in technology will allow The Dreamers to create new professions, new job roles, new products and new services for themselves and others.
A larger number of The Dreamers will fuel more creativity and innovation within the workspace and in the economy. They will involve themselves in the impact sectors, influence-thinking bodies, and leadership with the academia and will work for a belief system beyond money.
While The Dreamers will form the vast majority of people in the work place, the new decade will also give rise to a second set of professionals who wouldn’t be attached to a single job role or an organization.
They will be The Free Agents, bartering their services, expertise and skills to others, when they want and where they want. Fiercely individualist, they will value freedom and diversity in their experiences within and outside of work. Equally creative and dexterous as the Dreamers, they will constantly bring in new ideas, skills and imagination within organizations and systems and then move on to pollinate somewhere else.
The Dreamers and The Free Agents will together build a series of fresh entrepreneurs, who will work not only to create more value for investors but also focus on societal welfare.
There will also be a fair number of people who will oscillate between these groups.
The Floaters, will comprise largely of the educated, qualified, still unemployed. There will be a generation of freshers and people in between jobs and roles. They will be in search of ideas that challenge them, provide growth intellectually and emotionally. They will engage informally but yet create a voice for the formal economy to consider. However, there will still also be a number of people working in conventional sectors and job roles pursuing the ideals and motivation of the yesteryears, The Chasers.
Unlike the Dreamers or the Free Agents, the Chasers will continue to bring more stability to organizations and businesses. While they continue to work for money, they will demand much more by means of compensation in kind, through which they will discover or own their passions.
Thus, these four groups will each have very different motivation, working styles, expectations and aspirations. Having each of them will be equally important for every organization as each of these groups bring in complimentary values and benefits for organizations.
By 2030, we will have a far more behaviorally diverse work force than we have ever seen. The challenge for organizations in 2030 will be to create work places and ecosystems that understand the motivations of each of these diverse groups and cater to their needs.
Organizations will need to be far more empathetic to the needs and aspirations of each of these groups. Most importantly, organizations will need to create platforms and organization designs that help each of these groups to mingle between each other.
In such environments, aspects like training, work space design, technology, compensation and business sustainability will have go through a very different rapid transformation. Tomorrow’s leaders and managers will no longer have hierarchical management styles or homogenous work force.
Collaborative decision-making might involve team members scattered around the world, coming from very different backgrounds and harboring very diverse motivations and ambitions. How different organizations adapt to such changes and such diversity will distinguish the winners from the losers.
This article has been written by Ashni Biyani, Ideator‐in-Chief, Future Ideas. It is published in a report by Citrix Labs Australia called “How work will work in 2030” and looks at the changing nature of work in India over the next two decades.