The world of work in 2028: trends and dilemmas

  • Deutsche Telekom, Detecon and Henley Business School asked international experts about the effects of digitalization and artificial intelligence on the future of work and everyday life
Men passing by an office building.

What will our working world look like in 2028? How will businesses be led in 10 years’ time and how will they have changed by then? Deutsche Telekom, together with its consulting affiliate Detecon and Henley Business School, has looked into this and other questions and released the results of its work as part of a wide-ranging study: Work 2028 – trends, dilemmas & choices. 50 influential business leaders from a wide variety of industries, sectors and countries were interviewed for the study.

The aim of the project was to seed the debate about the opportunities, challenges and dilemmas posed by the digitalization process and artificial intelligence (AI) with predictions and controversial opinions; 16 trends and areas to address were identified from the interviews.

The consensus among interviewees was that by 2028, AI and human-machine interaction will be firmly established in our work and home lives. The participants interpret the effects of these changes in a variety of different ways: the optimists express a belief in a better, more secure, future that will provide more space for creativity; in contrast, the skeptics fear that many work roles, even complex ones, will begin disappearing, and that only minimal new jobs will be created to replace them – all of which has possible consequences for further societal divisions. 

The study also underlines the prospect that technology will be treated as a catalyst for radical transparency in the world of work and that it is likely to transform the role of leadership: decisions will be democratized, while leadership will be rotated and exercised multi-directionally.

Study serves as a catalyst

Deutsche Telekom CHRO Christian Illek views the study as a major catalyst for change: “There is plenty of room for argument about the likely effects of digitalization and AI in how people will live and work. However, the will to actively shape the future for the better has to be at the heart of this debate. Discussing the various perspectives expressed in the study will help sharpen our vision on how the digital revolution is likely to change our lives.”

One thing that Marc Wagner, head of New Work and Company Re-building at Detecon, notes from the study is that company size alone will provide no advantage in the process of building our new digital working worlds in 2028: “Instead, the experts tell us, it will be those businesses whose employees can respond with agility and flexibility in ad-hoc networks to a wide variety of situations that will successfully survive the change.”

Professor Bernd Vogel, Founding Director of the Henley Centre for Leadership at Henley Business School, led the research and points to the immense impact of those projected developments on the practice of leadership in the next 10 years: “Organizations who embrace the study findings on work and AI can start today to revolutionize their understanding and practice of leadership and use this understanding to grow into an ever more purpose-rich player not only for business, but more importantly for their role in society.”

About Deutsche Telekom: Companyprofile

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