HHBA Opinion Piece: Herts IQ Zone and the Fourth Industrial Revolution aka Future of Work

The Hemel Business Ambassadors meeting recently, held at Frogmore Paper Mill was an opportunity for local businesses to find out about the launch of Hertfordshire IQ.  As a Dacorum based business myself, I was encouraged to hear Cherie Norris (Enterprise Zone Manager) talk about the opportunities this will bring to the local area.  The zone will be based in Hemel Hempstead, and with 3 million sq.ft of development planned over the next 10 years, will provide sustainable, flexible workspaces, tax breaks and collaboration opportunities with industry experts to create a UK hub of green companies.

Elspeth Mackenzie the Chief Executive of Thrive Homes also spoke and, picking up on the themes of sustainability and collaboration, she explained how Thrive are working with local authorities and communities to deliver good quality homes where people enjoy living supported by their vision of being a professional and accessible landlord.

There’s no doubt the launch of Hertfordshire IQ comes at a turning point in working life and economic development globally.  Talk of collaboration, sustainability and flexible workspaces is music to my ears.  We all know that the world of work is changing rapidly – and the ability to respond and rise to the pace of change, is a challenge for us all.  That’s why I’ve been talking to my clients more and more about the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Future of Work.

Whilst it’s impossible to fully know all the jobs of the future, the hyper-transformation of technology, business models and work, raises some big questions:  what will it mean for our society, our businesses, our governments and our young people?  And how do we ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate in the digital economy?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) argues that one way to adapt to the new challenges, is in how we acquire the skills needed for jobs – to allow for perpetual, renewable skills development.  They predict a future where education, employers and individuals work together in an entirely new way – fully collaborating to provide the foundation for perpetual learning so that everyone can participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Just take a look at the skills they see growing from the table below:

HHBA_2022 Skills Outlook

I find this table fascinating reading, not least because it means that talent management and development will need to be front and centre of the growth strategy for businesses.  But if you’re reading this and thinking, where do I start?  Don’t panic!  There are some simple ideas that can help you and your business to focus.  For example, asking customers why they choose you; identifying your core business and looking at how you attract and retain your customers.  Just as important is your People Strategy: ensuring it truly supports your business plans and harnesses the creativity and potential of your workers – which is where professional and accessible HR expertise comes in.

Ruth George

HR Consultant


This is not legal advice and is provided for general information only. © Ruth George HR Consulting.

Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors are always on the look out for opinion pieces and new releases about just why Hemel Hempstead is a place ‘you can do business’. Please email gary.stringer@HHBA.work for more information.

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