Research Outline

UK Future of Work


Gain an understanding of trends in the future of work in the UK, with a focus on the advertising and media industries, in order to support a pitch for a technology platform that connects consultants with short term projects.

Early Findings

Growth of Project Based & Flexible Work

  • It's projected that the future UK workforce will have an increased amount of flexibly employed external service providers, and a decreased amount of permanent employees or long term contracted roles.
  • In fact, one UK policy-maker notes, “The idea of a single education, followed by a single career, finishing with a single pension is over.”
  • It’s also projected that the future workforce will be more diverse, with “multi-generational, older, and more international, with women playing a stronger role”, all of which are projected to lead to increased demand for work-life balance.
  • It’s noted that freelance work and zero-hour contracts will become more of the norm than traditional employment, as organizations hire more people for project based work.

Digital Transformation Skills Gaps

  • It's also projected that as innovation grows exponentially within most industries, project based work will require constant upskilling. This is predicted to lead to increased gaps between in demand skills and available contractors with those skills.
  • An increasingly common challenge will be when employers need to find skilled individuals to meet highly specific needs. It's predicted there will be issues filling vacancies in a rapidly evolving workforce, "due to a mismatch between skills of displaced workers and the requirements of available opportunities."
  • As a result, employers and organizations are likely to increase their investment in skills development programs, offering more apprenticeships and training based work placements to meet the needs of rapid technological evolution.

Future of Media Work

  • The media sector is expected to continue seeing increased digitization and automation post COVID, with social media and digital media continuing to replace traditional media outlets.
  • One source notes that following COVID, "there are four key strategic issues that media and entertainment organizations should consider"; adjusting business models for better consumer engagement , redefining relationships with advertisers as spending decreases, reinforcing content production and distribution, and preparing for shifting consumer behaviors.
  • Workers in the communication and journalism space will require "strong technological knowledge to stay relevant", and competition is expected to grow in the space amongst independent workers and consultants.
  • Clients relying on freelance consultants are projected to seek specialists who are able to highlight their understanding of digital platforms and ability to navigate digital transformation.