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


Australian community trends visual curiosity demographic transformations Res Vis follow changing face of sydney school students annual income average Australian tuesday conferences Christmas season workshop professional services ACF17 career thrive population milestone food train cars social life wealth and income NSW future of work speakers ACT global financial crisis housing market TED cloudy days norwest conference presentation criminal Maxim Accounting vegetarian 2016 census results Cobbitty-Leppington volunteering Australian Families sydneycity Wellington royal family healthy future resource Charlotte google for education income Northern Beaches professional development Territory omnibus Australia Day in depth interviews Births social researcher new york times hunger dare to dream trends of 2016 mythbusters 2016 census population careers financial planning event household video mccrindle research generation alpha Australia Day 2017 manly victoria apartments Hornsby Shire Council growth 2016 local community australian social research survey design financial independence internships gen z collaborative ageing property price 24 million not for profit research demographics generational trends proactive live the dream seasons GPO national private wealth South Australia leader futurist rising house prices townhouses public speaking DESTEL Do It Yourself research pack ACF 2016 learning organisational culture environment staff 1975 local communities TEDx tea focus group qualitative research forecasting coffee lovers learning styles Sydney keynote speaker researcher the hills screenage environmental scanning society selfie ease of travel identity professional presenters contiki gig organisations speajer Christmas presents market research supply and demand educhat 24,000,000 daily telegraph pharmacy geomapping Tasmania social research wealth distribution VET Engineering Manager prince george university degree DIY schools Merry Christmas micro apartments school satisfaction Wagga Wagga who is generation z urban living index relational public holiday generations work-life Christchurch sydneysiders ethnography ACF2017 world youth day presentations jobs award mythbusting home infographic wall SRE conference speaker gig economy australians staying home more 10 years 2017 Australian Population overcast housing trends hills easy rider mining boom post rationalism water states Gen X PSI insight living long weekend NBRS Architecture marriages skills economy 1980 English Caregiver Aussie Australian communities shifts home ownership social impact business index SMART priorities know the times year 7 cost of living baby names report intern EFF workplace culture new office professional residents urban taskforce NFP event media release media activity the australian dream royal baby domestic ipswich cooking Australian Communities Trends cancel plans younger generations census fail wolloomooloo #censusfail census 2016 "know the times" learner renting education rental stress greatness financial sydneysider social issues What is food insecurity? coffee demographic trends megatrends 2013 census earning Deaths news Adelaide youth unemployment shopping centre grave decision office New South Wales non profit average sydneysider families student global Vocational education divorce wealth and income distribution Andrew Duffin New Zealand renter of the future casual eliane moreton bay January 26th households customer entrepreneurs of today wealth consumerism sector wide study FPA city graphs teacher trades demographic capital cities optus my business awards optus future-proof average aussie 2015 case study social commentator Population Clock Australian Bureau of Statistics participants food insecurity alpha financial fears daily commute data analyst Social Trend Bathburst motivate challenge area forum outsourcing Financial Planning Week divorce rate australian communities trends report sunburnt country social lives home owner Jura Australia engagement future proofing keynote speaker social media public transport fears future of shopping poor online generation Z mccrindle in the media government Performance Sentiment Index happiness Australian Census cost growing population suburb 40 million Assistant Store Manager huffington post spend demography volunteering data Hunter Valley tertiary education TED talk Australian demographics Elderslie-Harrington park Sydney’s south west earn shopper's pick Willowdale unemployment mother's day leadership workshop Education Future Forum finance repayments cartodb dreaming brand experience census results energy baby names business Real Estate Institute of Victoria analysis fresh goal sunny days affordable the average aussie the lucky country educated dessert social analyst digital not-for-profit low density easter socialising change ashley mckenzie small business rule keeper ABS purpose population map speakers pack consumer Australian Home WA speaker housing growth REIV National Conference urban story financial future Kirsten Brewer Scouts urban living builders suburban living lalor park crime snapshot Geoff Brailey mccrinlde ashley fell trends newspaper work Love meetings crows nest wedding language Real Estate global generations socialites Financial Planning Association professional speaker future proof internship teach church gen alpha 1968 teachers The Daily Edition experience litter sydney speaker princess charlotte leadership culturally diverse sydney hills SMSF poker master ideas cultural diveristy society trends property training high density living optimistic entrepreneur rent brands social analysis click winter Jura Coffee Kiwi TDE Research Director gold coast deloitte social enquiry communications responsive bureau education future report lifestyle university community event data visualisation friendship wellbeing going out breakfast land of the middle class 2014 define holidays year 12 group session weather Gen Y James Ward internet generation data millenials youth australia commuters names research services christianity balance potts point summer moderators guide infographics national crime rates aged care puzzle research data spirituality entrepreneurial royal influence research report Queensland public speaker sydney event Macquarie University education future office opening unaffordable staying in Mark McCrindle in the media house prices acf15 plans VIC Sydney future of education millennials CPI house price rise suburbs budget schools students stats ACF couple mover and shaker VET sector baby baby boomers child care paying to work sydney metro etiquette Australian Dream communicate weekly earnings marrickville Tuesday Trend middle class world trends analyst meals infographic communication transport high school impact high density apartments marketing Crime Rates Research Executive survey Word Up sustainable hopes group innovative ACT Report bus education sector cica choice workers capital city Duchess of Cambridge forecast innovation belief 23 million community engagement research on coffee safe rain shopping 2012 offenders students tv giving charity 1994 vegemite census data mobile narcissism storytelling volunteers the great screenage apartment economic NT online shopping workplace Aussies personal growth high density mentor tableau religion hills shire friends relevant commute in the media February 16 australian Myth holiday ferry Australians statistics faux-cilising slideshare technology pharmacies Generation Y Canberra tips tattoos social shifts baby name predictions owning a home entertainment sentiments employment house micro McCrindle Speakers parents dreams Sydney population Christmas lunch growth of sydney blaxland buildings office space neutral bay Mount Annan-Currant Hill NEETs HSC emerging technologies aussie culture cancelling plans cash commuting REIV Conference mccrindle twentyseventeen TAS debate hello fresh publication thought leadership christmas recap logan baby boom wealth inequality not for profit mateship investing google australian community trends report System's Architect Generation X JOMO Western Australia 2020 engage financial dreams charities ultimo salary Channel Seven Northern Beaches Christian School future Australian Trends Australia street toys travelling social change Lower Hunter Hills Shire Council state donate emerging trends Northern Territory wages product faux-cilise NBRS work from home culture waverton trend Valentine’s Day goals McCridle employmer national wealth politics Mark McCrindle study house price car chairty social CBD faith increasing densification research visualisation social commentary cancelling event trends of 2017 presentation women personalities marriage young people christian facts sun baby names australia report jobs of the future woolworths New Zeland darwin perth conference travel stay home demographer emerging generations affordability collaboration employers debt business performance investor SA nfp networking millionth The ABC of XYZ award winner housing work mates australian communities forum social trends Australian schools keynote sector wide eliane miles media commentary showreel panel aged care the hills shire sector teleworking donation Work place hornsby monarchy faux-ciliser education research Tuesday Trends australian real estate school dream events medicine typical australian Financial Planning Association of Australia focus groups men authenticity wage mccrindle tea resilience community population growth employmee gender rich insights family Northern beaches Event cold learn Skilling results Royals mortgage shbc grandparents research father's day housing affordability pyrmont earnings quote young australians royal children anzac workforce FOMO money retirement World Water Day rise of local celebration communities bondi visualisation investment social researchers cultural diversity ageing population local care support screenagers Channel 7 hobart Wodonga media Queensland: QLD Netflix brand property market food bank real winter blues equip volunteer report life program menai sports kate middleton the changing face of parenting list village Melbourne interactive clothing trend tuesday Lower Hunter Region IT Specialists Sydney Hills Business Chamber Business analysis brisbane baby name baby name trends teaching