“Pivotal” moments: brace yourself for 31 unexpected paradigm shifts in the job market from these external non-economic factors

We could call them “pivotal” moments, or paradigm shifts in the job market. Past technologies such as automation, robotics, green technologies, cloud computing and smartphone radically reshaped the job market. The next big non-economic “game-changer” influencers in the job market will be more diverse. (For the purposes of this feature, we’re not including the overtly economic factors, which has an obvious impact on jobs.)

The Brookfield Institute is out with a new report — Turn and Face the Strange, Changes impacting the future of employment in Canada. The report identifies the 31 big influencers they expect in the employment market. [1]

“Most contemporary conversations about the future of employment tend to focus on technological trends,” according to the report.[2] “However, in order to support forward-facing planning and avoid blind spots, it is critical to understand a range of trends, with various levels of maturity, and how they might interact over time.”

Some of the more interesting and unexpected trends we discuss in detail below, and we’ll end with their full list of 31 influencers. Some, such as demographics, are well understood. Others, like “Digital Detox” and “Mandatory Creativity” are real eyebrow-raisers.

Shortage of candidates?

You might wonder why, at a time when employers complain of a “shortage” of candidates, we still have unemployment. This is mostly due to the shifting needs of employers in terms of skills, qualifications and creativity. This trend will continue — with employers desperately hunting for really qualified candidates — especially under the influence of the latest five emerging influences. Human Resource Management is a critical role in business performance.

Here, the Brookfield Institute only look at the top five expected, but surprising “pivotal moments” for the future job market in Canada.

1 – “Digital Detox” and rescuing productivity

Apps were once essential to productivity. Now, many companies are pushing back, creating a noticeable “reverse trend” away from total reliance on digital solutions. Companies, as much as people, can become addicted to technological solutions. But the push back comes when the solution becomes a distraction. This is one of the reasons “screen time” monitoring has become a management metric — are employees becoming unproductive as they focus exclusively on their display screens?

The report says: “Finding the cost of digital connectedness too high, Canadians are making deliberate decisions to unplug from technology to achieve a healthier life balance.”

Apple, in their latest software releases, including software that measures “screen time” for example. Employers try to analyze how productive team-members are, outside of screen time. The word “integrated solution” is being banned in many workplaces. So, instead of an “integrated CRM, screen-sharing conference, social media, marketing, sales push, content-creation, writing and editing, cloud-based” solution, many industry leaders are looking for ways to move back to more creative environments, such as whiteboarding and chalking away from the screen. There are also emotional and health concerns, since “screen addiction” is a growing issue and tends to limit productivity and creativity.



Info Graphic Influences of change in job market Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
The Brookfield Institute’s latest report identifies some fascinating influencers that will impact the job market.


Interestingly, the whiteboard, chalkboard and flip phone are making comebacks. Ther rise of apps, such as “RescueTime” might seem counter-intuitive, but they signal how seriously employers are about removing digital distractions from the workplace. Instead of hunting for the newest app to solve a productivity problem, many companies are rigorously reducing reliance on digital solutions. Some companies are trading in their smartphones for flip phones.

Related to that, they identified two other interesting influencers in the market: “Digital Identity” — where our identity is defined by what is online — and “Technological Fear,” or the “pervasiveness of our digital connections is leading to deep fear and anxiety about technology.


2. “Mandatory Creativity”— bringing back the creative workplace

Many employers today start their review of candidates by focusing on their creativity. In the report, it’s called “Mandatory Creativity.” Experience and education are moving down the list of weighted criteria, and creative is now back on top for many workplaces. This is not just about so-called “creative” jobs such as art director and graphic designer.

This is about the level of the “three I’s”: Imagination, Inspiration and Inventiveness. Competing in any industry, from oil and gas to aerospace to retail, requires very creative people to help lift the bottom line.

Technology Changes to watch [from the full report]:

1. AI EVERYTHING: AI may impact and potentially disrupt every industry.
2. VR + AR EXPERIENCES: Virtual and Augmented Reality may transform the way Canadians engage with a range of experiences, from training to gaming.
3. BLOCKCHAIN: Blockchain adoption may change the security and authenticity of significant transactions including banking, land rights, high-value goods, insurance and voting.
4. DIGITAL DETOX: Finding the cost of digital connectedness too high, Canadians are making deliberate decisions to unplug from technology to achieve a healthier life balance.
5. 3D PRINTING: 3D printing is gearing up to change the way we produce and consume
goods in the future.
6. WE ARE FAMGA: Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple (FAMGA) are redefining the technology industry and dominating multiple markets, leaving limited space for others.
7. DIGITAL IDENTITY: Information about us and our families is being used to create digital identities.
8. HUMANS, AUGMENTED: Brain enhancements may elevate human capabilities.
9. TECHNOLOGICAL FEAR: The pervasiveness of our digital connections is leading to deep
fear and anxiety about technology.
10. RIGHTS OF AI: AI may transition from being understood as software to being considered beings, therefore achieving a new status and basic rights.
11. CREATIVE AI: Creative AI has the potential to automate creative tasks typically deemed

Global Influencers

12. TECH TALENT IMMIGRATION: Canada is using creative mechanisms to address tech
talent shortages. (Interesting to note that employers are looking to outside domestic for certain “talent shortages.)

Demographic Influencers
13. WORKING RETIREMENT: Seniors may meld work and retirement well into their eighties
and nineties.
14. CONNECTED BUT LONELY: Mental illness may become even more widespread,
alongside increased technological connections.
15. LIFELONG LEARNING: Learning never stops.
16. WORK + LIFE INTEGRATION: Our personal and professional lives are melding, erasing
the distinction between work and leisure hours.
17. MAINSTREAM INCLUSIVE DESIGN: Understanding that one size does not fit all,
inclusive design may create a new market of opportunities.

Environmental Sustainability

18. RESOURCE SCARCITY: Clean air, water, sand may all become scarce and extremely
valuable resources.
19. WILDFIRES, FLOODING + MUDSLIDES: Climate change may increase the instances
of wildfires, floods and mudslides in Canada.
20. CLIMATE REFUGEES: Canada may see an influx of refugees due to major climate
change disruptions in the rest of the world.
21. ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: Experimental and sustainable energy sources could provide
abundant, affordable energy for all.


22. SUBURBAN BOOM: Canada’s suburban areas are growing faster than the overall
population. (And growing congestion, up 40% according to Statscan makes downtown workplaces less enticing to talented workforce.)

Increasing Inequality

23. DISAPPEARING MIDDLE CLASS: The middle class may be disappearing and overstretched by debt, increasing the polarization between rich and poor.
24. REBALANCING GENDER EQUALITY: The rebalancing of gender equality could disrupt
private and public institutions.
25. PERSONAL DATA OWNERSHIP: Concerns over personal data may create new
ownership and revenue models.
26. DECLINE OF CAPITALISM: Millennials may push for a new economic system to replace

Political Uncertainty

27. INTERNATIONAL TENSIONS: New sources of international tensions may drive
investment in security, including security applications of AI.

Other Factors

28. ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT: Entrepreneurship-related work and the entrepreneurial spirit may become the dominant career path with many Canadians creating their own opportunities rather than committing to a single employer.
29. MANDATORY CREATIVITY: Creativity could become critical for all Canadians, not just
for the arts and design community.
30. EDUCATION REIMAGINED: Work is changing, driving demand for learning how
to learn instead of memorizing information, paving the way for new models of
education for K-12 learners.
31. CANNABIS ECONOMY: Canada becomes second nation in the world to legalize marijuana, creating immense new market opportunities.

[1] Brookfield Institute report>>

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