The future of work: Technology, Innovation & Collaboration

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

GENErational transition in the workplace

We’re on the brink of significant generational transition in the workforce, as the Baby Boomers (born 1946-64) who make up a quarter of today’s workforce and hold a lot of the leadership roles are reaching retirement age and will be just 8% of the workforce in a decade’s time. 

At the other end of the spectrum, as the Baby Boomers are phasing out of the workplace, the most materially endowed, technologically literate, formally educated, globally connected generation to ever grace the planet enter the workforce – Generation Z. 

Future Workforce Generations

Generation Z, born 1995-2009, make up 18% of our population, 9% of the workforce but in a decade’s time will make up 31% of the workforce.

Whilst they will spend 14,000 hours in face to face classes in their schooling and for a degree, they’ll spend 6 times this in the workforce – an estimated 84,000 hours.  But what will the future of work look like?

Generation Z bring new approaches to work, problem solving, innovation and collaboration.  They have been born into an era of unprecedented change – this will be reflected in their approach to their careers. Today’s annual turnover rate is 15% per annum which equates to people staying in their roles for approximately 3 years 4 months. Projected over the lifetime of a school leaver today it is estimated they will have 17 jobs across 5 careers in their lifetime. 

social trends transforming the future of work

The Intergenerational Report by the Australian Government outlines three major social trends which will transform the future of work as we know it- population, participation and productivity.


Australia’s population is growing at 1.4% per annum, and we will reach 24 million people by the end of 2015.  We have doubled both our national and our global population since 1966.

However our population is not only growing but also ageing.  Our population pyramids visually communicate our growth – in 1985 it was a pyramid as there were more younger people than older people, however today it is becoming more rectangular and demonstrates how we are on the brink of massive ageing.   As we project to 2045 our population pyramid will start to become inverted as we will have more people aged over 60 than under 18 for the first time.

There are not only more older people but we are living longer than ever before, having added 10 years of life expectancy in the last four decades.

Our population is also changing, and we are more culturally diverse than ever before with 58% of Australia’s growth attributed to net overseas migration. We are increasingly generationally diverse with six generations represented in our communities today. 


In the years ahead we will see the female workplace participation rate continue to increase.  And we will be working later in life with the retirement age being pushed back. Even so, because of the impact of the aging population our workforce participation rate will actually decline, with today’s participation rate at 65.1% projected to decline to 62.4% in 2055.

The ratio of Australians in the workplace to retirees is also radically changing.  In 1975, there were 15 people of working age (aged 15-64) for every couple of retirement age (aged 65+).  Today there are just 9 people of working age for every couple of retirement age, and by 2055 it is projected to be just 5.4 people of traditional working age for every couple of retirement age. 


Due to the declining ratio of people of working age to those in retirement, there is going to be a greater need for productivity from the labour force.  The workforce of the future will need to do more with less.  This final defining social trend, productivity, is the only one not based on demographic realities.  

The Intergenerational Report outlines that for every hour an Australian works today, twice as many goods and services are produced as they were in the early 1970s. One of the contributors to this is technology which has enabled greater efficiencies. 

the future of work

It is not just technology which has increased productivity outcomes over the years.  Productivity is maximised by people and organisations who can innovate, and communities who can collaborate.  Effectiveness, innovation, productivity comes when it is in the hands of people who can see solutions, generate ideas, solve problems and facilitate innovations. 

Technology, innovation & collaboration 

Sectors have been transformed where there’s the intersection of technologies with innovation and collaboration. 

For example, AirBnB has challenged the traditional approach to accommodation solutions.   Their innovative approach to accommodation has been released to the collaborative power of the community to become accommodation providers, and has been leveraged through the technology platforms.   

Similarly, the network transportation company Uber has transformed the approach to transportation.  Launched internationally in 2012, Uber is in 58 countries, worth an estimated $50 billion yet doesn’t own one car.  An innovative approach, released to the collaborative community, leveraged through technology. 

Cancer Research UK provides another creative example of this.  They created a computer game Play to Cure: Genes in Space’. By playing it you analyse significant amounts of genetic data which would have taken scientists hours to do and can help beat cancer sooner. Leveraging technologies, fostering innovation and embracing collaboration.

effective leaders of the future

The effective leaders of the future will not be those necessarily with the most developed skill set but those who can effectively create a culture of collaborative innovation. 

Traditional leadership models have been based on position, hierarchy, command and control.  Whilst leadership remains essential, the styles of leadership the emerging generations respond best to are those that foster a context for them to connect, create and contribute. 

A workplace culture of collaborative innovation is inclusive of a multicultural, multigenerational, multigifted community – it draws on the strengths of the diversity through positioning people in contexts which foster growth, innovation and collaboration.

creating a culture of collaborative innovation

A culture of collaborative innovation requires focusing on the people not just the process. On shaping a team not just spending on technologies. It requires building on a foundation of shared values such as humility, respect and honesty.  It’s where leaders create autonomy supported inclusive multigenerational workplaces. 

Productivity and outcomes are important.  Essential in fact.  But perhaps as we shift our focus from process to people, from transactional to transformation leadership, and create vibrant, healthy, dynamic workplace communities – the productivity, innovation and output is likely to be greater than ever and flow simply as by-product - of people investing the 84,000 hours of their working lives in a rewarding way and in a thriving culture of collaborative innovation.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


SA organisational culture 10 years tableau statistics infographic wall visualisation research data schools students google school satisfaction hopes Bathburst qualitative research stay home weather huffington post mccrindle tea ABS quote cloudy days earn australian communities trends report house price baby names daily telegraph growth affordable sun mccrindle in the media Population Clock financial independence trends of 2016 rich Christmas lunch long weekend social trends 2016 internet TAS poor local travelling Tasmania cancel plans learner marriage alpha change presentations culture ease of travel community Myth greatness tea conference presentation rule keeper environment research pack Aussies challenge rise of local social researcher February 16 social analysis forum faux-cilising church high density cancelling plans royal influence cooking graphs winter perth train shopper's pick mining boom Territory wealth distribution Christmas presents World Water Day 1980 survey design brand experience education sector study meals social commentary teacher vegemite System's Architect futurist resource salary unemployment the average aussie healthy future suburb New Zeland focus groups Sydney keynote speaker keynote learning styles investor aussie culture income faux-ciliser bondi child care millionth weekly earnings sydney event office opening gen alpha emerging trends insights EFF new york times Wodonga mother's day baby boom research visualisation the australian dream friendship social impact dare to dream ipswich report digital life marketing investment Australian Dream shopping car energy employers priorities marriages social research data analyst Wagga Wagga educhat eliane Merry Christmas Real Estate Institute of Victoria personalities selfie the hills shire men Social Trend social issues prince george WA royal baby narcissism cartodb conference Love workplace culture neutral bay generation Z in depth interviews tips wealth and income public speaking tuesday women dreaming Res Vis plans owning a home tattoos baby name predictions changing face of sydney dream survey ageing New Zealand participants public holiday Australian Census motivate property market ferry mentor innovation Channel Seven workshop future of work earning Do It Yourself sports panel unaffordable emerging generations property rising house prices contiki IT Specialists baby name trends growing population woolworths spend DESTEL mobile food society trends commute moderators guide group Gen Y celebration Northern Beaches Canberra high density living Christmas season water Scouts house prices ageing population teach optimistic toys leadership workshop Australian Communities Trends global financial crisis community engagement shbc financial future youth unemployment census fail daily commute relevant #censusfail crows nest thrive social lives finance ashley mckenzie recap parenting debt economy anzac online omnibus hello fresh hills shire Crime Rates Aussie Netflix Gen X the changing face of Kiwi goal cars overcast 40 million sector wide sector wide study builders media release Australians google for education workforce event Northern Territory baby name business 2012 grandparents Australian demographics sydney metro village new office Wellington award winner university educated urban living index gender safe mythbusting pharmacies Western Australia sector world youth day wolloomooloo education cultural diversity career online shopping state vegetarian goals meetings publication ashley fell deloitte responsive work mates ACF 2016 property price Generation X Australian Bureau of Statistics millennials curiosity cost of living sunny days princess charlotte customer hornsby travel future proofing transport lalor park year 7 trends wealth school students 2015 trend tuesday real balance SMSF demographic students DIY etiquette victoria urban living high density apartments Engineering Manager Word Up sydney hills entrepreneur kate middleton population milestone royal family paying to work Adelaide generational trends schools 2017 office space potts point area poker master religion leadership JOMO christmas names trends of 2017 national private wealth charity households holiday Kirsten Brewer January 26th New South Wales networking CBD optus socialites youth crime learning typical australian baby tertiary education social shifts list social researchers follow coffee year 12 story social enquiry Research Executive product forecast HSC public speaker Geoff Brailey professional development fears medicine leader city Australian communities housing market volunteers family social media infographic training house price rise waverton aged care puzzle careers Education Future Forum Christchurch NSW work-life living children population monarchy marrickville professional national crime rates the hills university degree engage case study aged care sentiments young australians middle class thought leadership Mark McCrindle "know the times" staff home newspaper education future report pharmacy slideshare program suburban living ACT townhouses FPA ACF housing 2016 census results supply and demand 2020 cold Tuesday Trends demographics intern sydneysiders REIV Conference internships population map visual high school royal mccrindle Financial Planning Week 1975 Channel 7 father's day Royals Deaths storytelling twentyseventeen lifestyle going out Hornsby Shire Council generation generations Queensland: QLD proactive housing affordability teachers analysis Charlotte young people define Births The ABC of XYZ census 2016 retirement domestic office socialising click financial ultimo not for profit Valentine’s Day 24,000,000 news capital city jobs blaxland apartment divorce census results teleworking mccrindle research seasons house rain housing trends not-for-profit 23 million social life conference speaker video global christianity affordability VIC PSI earnings entrepreneurs of today norwest brisbane stats personal growth award suburbs 2016 census wages future community event entertainment holidays South Australia fresh wellbeing litter clothing media activity identity pyrmont language Melbourne Australian Home in the media data geomapping 2013 mortgage resilience organisations education research small business researcher wedding teaching optus my business awards Northern Beaches Christian School darwin communicate engagement social mythbusters forecasting cancelling event easy rider wage NT commuters wealth and income distribution media environmental scanning annual income cost Caregiver divorce rate snapshot world mateship repayments australian communities forum housing growth insight learn keynote speaker ethnography politics experience investing research services Northern beaches Event urban REIV National Conference research media commentary couple gold coast trends analyst future proof authenticity happiness mover and shaker English emerging technologies increasing densification urban taskforce household census residents collaborative Generation Y market research government future of education debate demographic trends Assistant Store Manager acf15 presentation Sydney easter culturally diverse manly sunburnt country business index Australia Day 2017 outsourcing home ownership Tuesday Trend megatrends The Daily Edition rental stress conferences baby boomers entrepreneurial McCrindle Speakers gen z parents TDE population growth hobart innovative demographer menai consumer global generations renting 1994 employment FOMO education future dessert speakers budget millenials low density professional speaker sydneycity internship faux-cilise events interactive post rationalism staying in nfp cash brands australians staying home more skills australian social research social change focus group financial dreams criminal 24 million shifts collaboration national wealth future-proof workplace communication facts eliane miles group session sydney speaker Financial Planning Association ideas 2014 school friends trend brand GPO 1968 relational economic moreton bay generation alpha Financial Planning Association of Australia buildings bureau families Australian schools capital cities consumerism average aussie society renter of the future student logan know the times demographic transformations winter blues christian social commentator states work home owner results Australia Day professional services jobs of the future financial fears Australian Trends Australian Families summer Duchess of Cambridge offenders rent non profit sustainable Real Estate data visualisation australia local communities technology equip NEETs communications bus tv land of the middle class Queensland communities