Hello from Sydney. It’s awesome here. I am having a great time. Before you know it, I’ll be in Rome. What a busy month!

So what’s happening in Australia? Well, lots of splashy consultants are walking around this conference talking about the future of the modern workforce.

“Things are different, Laurie. Everyone should learn to code. The very nature of work is changing, and human resources has fallen behind.”


When I hear someone lecture me about the 2020 workforce, I can’t help but think of my friend, Sarah White. She recently reminded me that 2020 is just about as far away as 2010. The 2020 workforce will look a lot like it does today — stupid and chubby.

Sarah said something like, “We can see 2020. It’s now within our planning capabilities. Freak out about something else.”

I like that kind of sensible thinking.

Yes, the world is always changing. Some of us use mobile devices. Some of us work at treadmill desks. These are crazy times. But 2020 looks a lot like 2015 in that 70% of the jobs created in America will be created in the restaurant and hospitality industry. The need for reliable home-healthcare workers to bathe and care for old and sick people is at an all-time high. And the gap between the rich and poor doesn’t seem to be shrinking anytime soon unless you’re a C++ programmer or a Java developer — and maybe not even then.

So how exactly is work changing? Are kids wearing hoodies? Facebook??! People want to talk about their feelings? GenY? iPads?


Much of this garbage has an agenda.

While work is allegedly changing, work has always changed. We no longer use our hands and stones to make flour, do we? The need to pay people a fair and decent wage — and treat all workers with respect — has not changed. The need to protect the health and safety of our workforce is not changing. And the need to protect the civil and human rights of our workforce has not changed.

So keep 2020 in mind when you do your strategic HR planning, duh, but maybe think about pressing needs of your existing workforce. Do something about that. Work is changing, but your shitty PTO policy has not changed in eight years.

Fix that. Move forward. Fix the next broken thing. That’s how we do HR in 2015 and beyond.

Why does everyone hate HR? Join the movement to fix that. Download the new e-book, “I Am HR.” ow.ly/xIRbQ Click to tweet.


  1. Thanks for this Laurie. I’m pleased you are having a good trip.

    Maybe if we focused more on stupid and chubby and less on hoodies and Facebook – 2020 might end up a lot more fun, but what do I know?

    More importantly, can you share more about what a splashy consultant looks like please?

    Cheers – Doug

  2. Laurie,

    Great to see you Down Under and a terrible shame that I wasn’t in Sydney to (finally) catch up for a coffee (given that the likelihood of my paying to attend a HR conference would be in the vicinity of 0.00001%).

    When I was obliged to do the HR circuit (some years ago now) and listening into the conversation on HR Happy Hour (and so on) I became acutely aware that practitioners here were months, even years behind the conversation occurring in the Europe and the USA while attempting to sell an old message as something new.

    How does Australia fare in terms of the HR conversation these days? Do you find APAC a bit parochial or are we keeping pace with the rest of the world?

    Safe travels to Rome


Comments are closed.