Leeds Together: What will the future workplace look like?

The workplace of the future will be very different to the one we know today, and employers must adapt and develop a future proofed employer proposition if they are to continue to attract and retain the best talent.  So was the crux of the talk given by Sally Bucknell, EY’s Head of Diversity and Inclusiveness for UK and Ireland who spoke at a recent event held in Leeds that Trinity McQueen attended as part of our involvement in The Leeds Fund.

As employees or employers there are obvious trends in the workplace that we’ve all no doubt heard about or witnessed first-hand – from the increasing automation of professional services roles to globalisation to a changing workforce demographic which now spans a much higher proportion of over 65s than ever before as people are living and working longer.  What a millennial expects from an employer is likely to differ significantly from what a Generation X or Baby Boomer wants in terms of e.g. working patterns, benefits and the work environment itself.  Employers will increasingly need to cater to this cross generational workforce. 

Organisations themselves are also vastly different beasts – banks are effectively digital companies nowadays as TSB recently found out to their detriment.  Young people don’t see themselves staying with the same company more than 12 months.  Skills and aptitude are overtaking academic qualifications in terms of importance.  EY themselves have now dropped graduate academic screening and of their annual intake of 1000 trainees, around 30% are school leavers (up from 10% a few years ago). 

Flexibility is of course the buzz word of the day.  Employees nowadays want to work very differently.  The gig economy has given rise to more contractors or people working on short-term assignments, whilst some are embracing extreme working e.g. 6 months on 6 months off.  We are also seeing a rise of Generation Entrepreneur – those that want to combine their ‘day job’ with setting a up a part-time business.  Rather than ban this sort of moonlighting, enlightened employers should see this as an opportunity.  EY, for example, have even set up an investment fund to pump money into some of these part-time businesses their employees have started.

As an organisation Trinity McQueen fully embrace this flexibility.  We employ part-time staff, freelancers, full-time staff, job-sharers and offer extended holiday allowances and sabbatical opportunities for longer-term employees.  Some of our employees are working part-time whilst they complete a Masters degree, others have professional interests outside of work – one of our staff members is in a hotly tipped band of the future, for example! 

A useful framework for employers to reflect on in terms of the types of employees they should now think about catering for is as follows:

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There are still people in the workforce who want to scale the professional ladder and are committed to doing so within the same employer – so-called ‘Climbers’.  However, these are just one type of employee, as increasingly the workforce will be made up of Balance Seekers, Hummingbirds and Side Hustlers.  One thing for sure is that everyone wants work-life balance and thankfully with technology these days, people can work remotely, work from the 3rd office space or use collaboration software from different geographic locations helping to facilitate this. 

It’s often said that many of the job titles our children will have in the future haven’t even been invented yet which may sound quite daunting to a school pupil of today.  What is incumbent on all organisations is to stay open minded when it comes to their employer proposition.  A one size fits all approach won’t work for every employee and having a growth, rather than a fixed mindset, will be key to attracting and retaining the best possible workforce. 

At Trinity McQueen, I’m proud to say we’re not just interested in what makes people tick, but what makes work fun.  Bring on the company summer outing to Bruges in June. 


Laura Morris, Director

Katie Grundy