As the professional body for the people profession, the CIPD has a responsibility to lead the way in understanding and shaping the future of the people profession, setting it up for sustainable success in the future of work. Collaborative international research is a key part of understanding the future, which is why, over eight days in August 2020, people professionals from across the world came together for our hackathon to answer the question – what will the people profession look like in 2030?

Our research focused on the following areas:

  1. What are the external drivers of change and how will these impact the key trends in the world of work?
  2. What are the key trends expected to influence the world of work in the future?
  3. What do these trends mean for the skills and capabilities of people professionals and people teams looking ahead and where can the profession add value?

After carefully analysing your ideas and comments, and incorporating further insight from senior leader roundtables, we’ve identified five key trends that will drive change and shape the future.

This report shares the findings of this collaborative research and takes a deep dive into the trends. Alongside sharing insights from our hackathon and roundtables, we offer practice reflection points and next steps for people professionals to support them to thrive through the ever-changing world of work.

Explore the research findings

Report: People profession 2030 future trends

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Executive summary: People profession 2030 future trends

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Explore the latest insights from our People Profession: now and for the future work

How the people profession can thrive in 2030 and beyond

Internal change

  • Develop future-fit skills to thrive in a changing world, including agility and autonomy.
  • Make horizon-scanning a priority and scan the external environment to anticipate upcoming shifts within the workplace.
  • Adapt people functions for the context they are working in. 
  • Take the lead on strategic change and developments.

View our illustration in detail and explore this trend further in pp9–12 of the full report.

Technological and digital transformation

  • Develop skills for a digital world and address skills gaps.
  • Develop analytical and data skills within the profession and build credibility in this area.
  • Bring people expertise to digital transformation to add real value.
  • Challenge other business areas to consider the impact of digital transformation on people and their work.
  • Address ethical considerations when it comes to data, privacy and implementing new technology.

View our illustration in detail and explore this trend further in pp12–19 of the full report.


Changing demographics and D&I strategies

  • Use expertise on people and people management practices to develop effective D&I strategy.
  • Be curious and keep knowledge on D&I and demographic shifts up to date.
  • Look outwards to understand the systemic barriers to D&I.
  • Prioritise and dedicate resource to taking action on D&I.
  • Take an evidence-based approach, especially when it comes to forecasting and understanding demographic shifts.

View our illustration in detail and explore this trend further in pp20–24 of the full report.

Diversity of employment relationships

  • Develop line managers to work in a complex environment with multiple types of employment.
  • Balance stakeholder and employee expectations, ethical considerations and customer demands with what is appropriate given the business context.
  • Pay attention to fairness, equality and potential misalignments of power in working practices and relationships.

View our illustration in detail and explore this trend further in pp24–28 of the full report.


Sustainability, purpose and responsible business

  • Adapt people functions to reflect a widening remit on corporate social responsibility and increased demand in areas like sustainability, responsible business and organisational purpose and values.
  • Take the lead in building responsible business practices.
  • Weave social value and purpose through the entire employee lifecycle.
  • Champion a strategic approach to responsible business.

View our illustration in detail and explore this trend further in pp29–32 of the full report.

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