Charlotte Aguilar-Millan inspects the key players of future companies in her tenth blog post for our Emerging Fellows program. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the APF or its other members.
The key actors of companies of the future will demonstrate a significant influence from Generation Z. By 2030, 30% of the workforce within the US will be Generation Z. They will act as key stakeholders of the future through their purchasing power and consumer habits. Companies should not assume these habits will be the same as previous generations.
Climate change is rapidly becoming a higher priority for consumers. This will heavily affect the success and profitability of future industries. Greta Thunberg is a telling example of the future desires of consumers. She is a significant climate change activist and often heralded as the voice of the future generations. On her trip to New York from the UK in 2019 she rejected the efficiency and economic pricing of flying due to the affects this would have on the environment. Instead, she took two weeks to sail there on a journey that had a zero-carbon footprint. This carbon reducing style of holidays is evidenced by the rise of the staycation where tourists remain in their home country for their holidays. The majority (52%) of those in the UK who had a staycation in 2019 were aged 25 to 34.
Airlines must develop in coming years to offer not only low costs, many routes and reliability. Attributes which current consumers expect. They must also address how they are offsetting their carbon footprint. Today this is offered as an optional addition to consumers booking flights. However, the Company of the Future will have this as a mandatory cost. Most likely borne through taxation. Companies should get in front of climate action to not only help the planet but to act as a leader within their industry. Corporate social responsibility will also drive the Company of the Future. As the population live longer, aspirations of successful careers, fulfilling hobbies as well as families grow. The Company of the Future that demonstrates progressive working solutions for parents as well as offering true work life balances will thrive.
Generation Z are not content with a static workplace. They have grown up seeing tech start-ups develop into unicorn IPOs. Generation Z are more mobile and entrepreneurial than previous workforces. They require a flexible workplace, as has been seen with the rise of the gig economy, that will enable them to fit in work around their lives. The largest actor in the Company of the Future will be the individual. As the individual becomes more aware, they will not accept a workplace that demands long hours that does not support new parents and will leave the individual at retirement without a liveable pension.
Social awareness of the profits and bonuses large companies make is on the rise. No longer can a company use employees as a resource without respecting the individual also. The individual will also vote with their consumer habits on the companies that will thrive in the future. Companies that do not actively plan to effect positive change for the climate cannot be successful. Companies need to take a leaf out of Greta Thunberg’s book to evolve into the Company of the Future.
© Charlotte Aguilar-Millan 2019