Deloitte Access Economics has urged Australian employers to prepare for a workforce that is older, more overweight, female and ethnically diverse.
Citing ABS statistics, the consultancy found that men and women of working age were 4kg heavier in 2012 than in 1995, so future offices may need to cater to a workforce that is “more overweight”.
“These changes will have implications for the physical design of workplaces, for example in relation to infrastructure, space required per person and climate control,” Deloitte wrote.
Growing waistlines have also been a challenge for healthcare and travel industries, with US hospitals tipping billions into sturdier equipment, wider doorways, larger seats and beds.
Earlier this year Airbus revealed plans to introduce extra-wide, 20-inch seats for airlines, for which it would have to shrink standard seats from 18 inches currently to 17 inches.
In a report that was commissioned by AMP Capital and released today, Deloitte said future Australian workplaces would be tailored to individuals, instead of institutions.
Deloitte said companies would continue recruiting an older and more female workforce, while also seeking out a new highly educated, skilled workers from Brazil, China and India, due to a local skills shortage.
“Whilst population and participation have been the major historical drivers of economic growth, in the decades to come they will deliver a net negative contribution to Australia’s GDP,” Deloitte reported.
“We predict that the growth in demand, coupled with a shift in power, will force Australian workplaces to seek out and adapt to suit the needs of a worker with a new demographic profile and a different set of needs, capabilities and expectations.”
With technology enabling more people to collaborate virtually across international borders, Deloitte said businesses would be built on personal relationships – not brand loyalty – and workplaces would need to become more flexible to facilitate connections.
Instead of today’s offices, Deloitte expects future workers to use four types of workspaces: home; office; co-working hubs; and temporary, on-demand spaces in places like petrol stations.
Top workers will be those with the strongest networks of contacts, and future leaders will need to be more co-operative than controlling, according to the consultancy.
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