Rebel Human Resources Podcast

Episode 36: The Robots are Coming! With Jeff Wald

March 23, 2021 Kyle Roed / Jeff Wald Season 1 Episode 36
Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 36: The Robots are Coming! With Jeff Wald
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Rebel Human Resources Podcast
Episode 36: The Robots are Coming! With Jeff Wald
Mar 23, 2021 Season 1 Episode 36
Kyle Roed / Jeff Wald

Join Kyle as he speaks with Jeff Wald about the future of work, data analysis, and Mr. T (eat your vegetables). 

Jeff is the Founder of WorkMarket (purchased by ADP in 2018), and several other technology companies, including Spinback, a social sharing platform (eventually purchased by Salesforce.com), an angel investor and startup advisor, and serves on numerous public and private Boards of Directors. I’m reaching out about having him on your show.

Based on hundreds of formal interviews with CEOs, HR executives, and political leaders, The End of Jobs: The Rise of On-Demand Workers and Agile Corporations guides readers through the history of work to understand how companies and workers reacted to the last three industrial revolutions. Jeff asks what lessons we can learn from these revolutions and the current state of the labor market and in order for workers, companies and societies to prepare for the Rise of the Robots.

Recently Jeff announced the $10 million Future of Work Prize. Twenty leading thinkers of the future of work have shared their vision for the workforce in 2040. Each contributor, selected for their leadership in studying and shaping how the world works, was asked to provide an essay for the book’s inclusion. In making the announcement, Jeff said, “I was blown away by the insight, vision and predicative powers of the contributors.  They paint very different visions of the future... I could not be prouder that they are a part of this great book and I look forward to awarding one of the authors the $10 million Future of Work Prize.”

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffwald
https://twitter.com/JeffreyWald
https://posthillpress.com/authors/jeff-wald
https://www.jeffwald.com/

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.

Subscribe today on your favorite podcast player!  

We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

www.rebelhumanresources.com
https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

We love to hear from our listeners!  Send us questions or comments at kyleroed@gmail.com

Rebel On, HR Rebels!

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Show Notes Transcript

Join Kyle as he speaks with Jeff Wald about the future of work, data analysis, and Mr. T (eat your vegetables). 

Jeff is the Founder of WorkMarket (purchased by ADP in 2018), and several other technology companies, including Spinback, a social sharing platform (eventually purchased by Salesforce.com), an angel investor and startup advisor, and serves on numerous public and private Boards of Directors. I’m reaching out about having him on your show.

Based on hundreds of formal interviews with CEOs, HR executives, and political leaders, The End of Jobs: The Rise of On-Demand Workers and Agile Corporations guides readers through the history of work to understand how companies and workers reacted to the last three industrial revolutions. Jeff asks what lessons we can learn from these revolutions and the current state of the labor market and in order for workers, companies and societies to prepare for the Rise of the Robots.

Recently Jeff announced the $10 million Future of Work Prize. Twenty leading thinkers of the future of work have shared their vision for the workforce in 2040. Each contributor, selected for their leadership in studying and shaping how the world works, was asked to provide an essay for the book’s inclusion. In making the announcement, Jeff said, “I was blown away by the insight, vision and predicative powers of the contributors.  They paint very different visions of the future... I could not be prouder that they are a part of this great book and I look forward to awarding one of the authors the $10 million Future of Work Prize.”

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffwald
https://twitter.com/JeffreyWald
https://posthillpress.com/authors/jeff-wald
https://www.jeffwald.com/

Rebel HR is a podcast for HR professionals and leaders of people who are ready to make some disruption in the world of work.

Subscribe today on your favorite podcast player!  

We'll be discussing topics that are disruptive to the world of work and talk about new and different ways to approach solving those problems.

Follow Rebel HR Podcast at:

www.rebelhumanresources.com
https://twitter.com/rebelhrguy
https://www.facebook.com/rebelhrpodcast
www.kyleroed.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/kyle-roed/

We love to hear from our listeners!  Send us questions or comments at kyleroed@gmail.com

Rebel On, HR Rebels!

Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/rebelhumanresources)

Jeff Wald:

And it just goes to show that any simple conclusion belays, the mass complexity that goes into labor resource planning, it's not new tech exists, therefore, job goes, right? It involves all of these things that we talked about in regards to the labor equation. And so it is, it's something that your, your listeners should be incredibly mindful of, you can't paint anything with a broad brush. Just because it happened in one industry doesn't mean it's gonna happen or another. Just because it happened at one function doesn't mean it's going to happen to another. And you can't make that simple conclusion that because this tech exists, that job will go.

Kyle Roed:

This is the rebel HR podcast. If you're a professional looking for innovative, thought provoking information in the world of human resources, this is the right podcast for you. Rebel On, HR Rebels. All right, Rebel HR listeners, I'm extremely excited to have our guest Jeff Wald on today, Jeff is the best selling author of two books, including the end of jobs, the rise of on demand workers and agile corporations. Jeff is the founder of work market, which was purchased by ADP in 2018. Several other technology companies, including spin back, a social sharing platform, he's also an angel investor, a startup investor, and is on numerous public and private boards of directors. And I would be remiss if I didn't also mention that in his past, he was also a auxilary police officer. So maybe we can explore that a little bit. But Welcome to the show. Jeff,

Jeff Wald:

thank you so much for having me. It's great to be here.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely. And I'm really excited about today's conversation, because we're gonna be talking all about the future of work. And, and Jeff recently announced a $10 million future of work prize. And I just, maybe we can start with just tell me a little bit about what that project is and and, and what your perspective is on the future of work?

Jeff Wald:

Sure. Well, let's, let's stay on the project for a hot second, which is, I came up with this idea because writing a book is really hard. And it sucks. It just sucks. It's like it took me seven years to write this thing. And now look, part of that was because I was building a company and you know, we were growing the business and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And I finally got the space to finish it when we sold the company to ADP. But I still only was able to get like 140 pages out. And I came up with the idea to ask some of the men and women that I had had the pleasure of interviewing that I had the pleasure of meeting during my time at work Margaret during my time at ADP. And these I asked them to write their view on what they thought the world of work look like in 2014. Look, these are men and women that are shaping the future of work. Heads of some of the largest staffing firms have the largest labor unions, CAGR rows and some of the world's largest companies, heads of industry associations, regulators. What do they see when they peer into their crystal ball, because each one of them has a very different framework has a very different lens through which they're looking. And so the idea of getting all these different perspectives, made the book much more interesting to me, and certainly much easier to finish because you know, you had a Tom Sawyer, you get a bunch of other people to do the work and, and so as I was thinking about how to create a dynamic that incentivize them, I am currently an advisor to the XPrize. And I thought I'd borrow a page from the XPrize and put up a $10 million prize for whoever is the most correct in 2014. And so, I am so honored the people that agreed to do it. And we had a lot more submissions in 2013. In the book, I put it down, pared it down to the lads at the top 20. And they're they're phenomenal. It just it makes the book much more enjoyable to read.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely genius. I love that Tom Sawyer it. So as as you're walking through, you know, the collective brain trust of a number of experts, are there any common themes that have presented themselves or or that really spoke to you as as intriguing.

Jeff Wald:

So what's interesting is that there is not a lot of overlap in their prediction sets. We have some people that have a very dystopian future in 2040. Workers are getting screwed and it's just it's a bad scene. We have some writers that are very utopian, the world's a wonderful place free from want Robots in AI are performing all of our mundane tasks. And humanity is focused on leisure and art and science and love and family. And it's a wonderful world. And I have one writer who's actually what I think is might be my favorite piece, although, you know, maybe we want to strike that from the record, I'm not sure I should go and record which one's my favorite. But he basically is like that everyone's gonna, everything's gonna be the same little change here, a little change there. But for the most part, same stuff, same shit different day. He looked, they're all brilliant. And they all have a very interesting point of view. And again, they're seeing the world through the lens in which they have a massive expertise in. But it is, it is very, very cool to to to get their different perspectives. But in terms of the under any the the common thread, I would say this every person I interviewed, so that includes the 20, that wrote for the book that includes the 40, that were a part of this process that got winnowed down to the 20. It includes about 200 other people, I asked everybody the same question at the end, which was, what advice would you give to somebody just entering the workforce now? And there was a common thread in their answers? their answers basically could be summarized as you have to be a lifelong learner, because the rate of change is massively accelerating. And I will tell you, lifelong learners, one of those turns people like a lifelong learner, he said too much, I would say we are not nearly saying it enough. People need to be a lifelong learner, the data is clear around the time compression on how quickly a skill becomes non monetizable. And if you are not constantly learning the new skills, the new technologies, the new processes in your function, you have about four years before you start to really be put behind.

Kyle Roed:

Interesting, yeah, totally overused term, a lot of buzz word and lifelong learner. But but very, I mean, very appropriate. Look at just look at this last year, if you weren't nimble, agile, open, flexible. You know, I mean, I'm, I'm on video calls pretty much 90% of my day at this point, prior to 2020. It was maybe one a month, you know, and it was all phone calls. And but when you can't have in person meetings, you have to find ways to connect with people. And yeah, I mean, if you were if you were obstinate, or not interested in learning how to use a video call system, you got left behind,

Jeff Wald:

you do get left behind. But on the flip side, I will tell you, my man that earlier today, somebody emailed me and said, Hey, I know we have a zoom. But can I just give you a call on your mobile? I was like, Good God. Yes, please. That would be delightful.

Kyle Roed:

I with you, I'm with you. I get I get the zoom fatigue. And then it's the it's it's like, you just get like these lost over eyes. It's like being in a car too long, and you're staring at the road. And it's just like, You're not even really paying attention to what's going on. It's Yeah, I get that.

Jeff Wald:

I mean, not not for this particular conversation. Obviously, this one we're very dialed into. But other conversations

Kyle Roed:

over? Right, 100% 100%? I haven't been on many zooms today. So I'm good. I'm good. I appreciate you humoring me. No, I love it. And yeah, and I think that the same could probably be true for an organization if an organization isn't learning and adapting. Very true. Similar, right?

Jeff Wald:

Very true. And look, and the A great example of that are organizations embracing of remote work? So if you don't mind, why don't we can we need to do a quick dive here on remote work?

Kyle Roed:

Let's do it. Yep.

Jeff Wald:

So well, I should I should say that the basis of the book is, let's look at history. Let's look at data, let's think about how companies actually engage workers. And let's use that evidence set in order to make predictions about the future of work, because I get very frustrated with people making predictions that have no basis in evidence. I appreciate they like to hear themselves talk. But I like to tell them to back up what they're saying. So therefore, let's talk about remote work. And let's look at history and data. 10 years ago, 1.5% of the US workforce worked remotely. Now remote work has a very specific definition. It means more than 50% of the time, you're not in that office. And so if you are not in that office, but up to 50% of the time, so you're there 60% of the time or 70% of the time, you have a flexible work arrangement, but you're not considered a remote worker. The remote work market grew by 100% from 2010 to 2020. doubled, which is very unusual in the world of labor statistics. only happens when there is a new technology enabling it as zoom and WebEx and all these other things as well as Asana and Basecamp and other project management software's those two technologies enabled more remote work. And it also only happens when you start with a very small base, as we do with one and a half percent. So we got to 3%. But there were impediments. And some of those impediments were mindset driven to your point around organizations having to evolve. So the two impediments first mindset, and we all know that boss, or that organization that says, Yeah, I don't care. All the studies say that remote workers are happier, they're healthier, they're more productive, they're more engaged, they have higher retention rates. I don't care about all that. I think productivity happens when people are present. I think magic happens in the office. And that mindset would be an example to your point around organizations not being flexible and enabling the new processes and new technologies. The second impediment were policies, procedures, and infrastructure. It's one thing to say, Okay, yeah, you can work remotely, it's another to make sure that you can access all the company systems outside the four walls. You know, you I can work remote, but I can't access anything, then did you really enable remote work? No. If you tell me I can work remote, but I have to remind everybody, I'm not there. And therefore they have to put in zoom or some other option for every single meeting, then Have you really enabled him remote work? No, you're making me really struggle to become a part of the process. And clearly, in March of 2020, both of those things had to change. mindset had to change, policies, procedures, and infrastructure had to be put in place. And so at the height of the pandemic, we had 40% of the US workforce working remote. It's important to remember, by the way, that 42% is the natural limit in the US economy, because clearly, people in manufacturing and transportation and logistics in a lot of retail and entertainment, and host of other industries can't work remotely. So 42% is the natural limit, we were at 40%. And then the big question is, where are we going to be in the God Willing soon post COVID? world? And the answer seems to be around 8%, meaning organizations are starting to move. And 8%, again, is remote work, flexible work arrangements, 32 to 33%. And so again, remembering that 42% is the is the natural limit. So huge percentages, 25% or 20% for remote work. And you know, if it's if 75% for flexible work arrangements of the people that can do these things, those are examples of organizations starting to adjust because what remote work used to be was a poll function, it was the employee asking to do it, and the employer mostly saying no, and now we're starting to get to see it become a push function, as employers say, wow, I can get more productivity, I can get higher engagement, I can open up my, my labor clouds to entirely new talent pools, I can get the benefits of all of the productivity and happiness and all those other things. And I can reimagine how we work and I can also, you know, maybe spend less on office space, but we'll see how that actually plays out.

Kyle Roed:

Absolutely, absolutely. It's, it's, that's really interesting to, to think through my organization on you know, this is an anecdotal example, but my organization is a manufacturing organization, but the positions that could work from home did, of course, and And what was interesting, because we've brought some people back into the office, there are some collaborative interchanges that are required, especially between the essential, you know, manufacturing population, and maybe the, you know, engineers or professional populations that can partially work from home, but do need to be physically present. But I will tell you that people want flexibility. So, if we're not able to offer it, you know, somebody else that does offer flexibility is gonna, gonna grab that talent. I mean, that's just a that's a natural progression. You are 100% correct.

Jeff Wald:

That is what will happen. And But to your point, some jobs, enable it some jobs, some functions don't. Yeah. And not only do we want flexibility, and that is a very important thing. That's what all the survey data would tell us about what employees want post COVID. They don't actually don't really want to go full remote. And they don't want to be nine to five, five days a week. They want that middle ground. 90% of employees want that middle ground. But it's important to note that they don't want to go full remote because in addition to wanting flexibility, we also want that human connection. People you know, actually want to be in the office, they want to see their colleagues they want to be around the watercooler talking about American Idol or I don't know if that shows still on but whatever. I think they want to have that conversation.

Kyle Roed:

I haven't watched it since and Jaya was on and that I don't even know how many decades ago that was, but I

Jeff Wald:

think it's still on Good for them. I haven't watched it since Kelly and Justin, I went, I was season 101 and done old school.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, that's good man. That's it, you You really are a trendsetter and a leader in this space? No, that's fascinating, I think, you know, that's one of the challenges I think that HR is facing is it, there's there is we're kind of stuck in the middle of the push pull, right? There's, there's those managers that are, maybe their mindset is, we think we should be back in the office, and they're, you know, kind of pulling HR one direction, and then you've got employees who are asking for it. And then there's a lot of people kind of in the middle. But but I kind of feel like that's, that's HR all the time, whether it's 2020, or, or 2002. You know, we're always kind of, you know, being pulled in different directions, depending upon the kind of what's happening in the world of work. And so, as we start to fast forward and look at at the future of work. You know, one of the big challenges that I think we're starting to question right now is specific to the gig economy. And, you know, I think, you know, my tendency is, I'm a creature of habit. So I tend to think, Okay, this position, let's go build a position profile, let's go hire it, you know, we'll hire a full time person. And, you know, we'll, we'll just follow the same approach, because that's what we've done for the last two decades. So we might as well just keep doing it. But one of the questions I have is, that is, as we start to look at the, you know, kind of the on demand labor market, how are organizations going to be able to adapt to individuals who maybe don't want a full time job, or maybe want that flexibility, but don't even want to necessarily have one company to be flexible with maybe? How are we going to be able to work through some of those challenges as we start to fast forward through the years here? Well,

Jeff Wald:

let's start the conversation with history and data. You know, the on demand economy is not anything new. People think that it got invented with Uber, on demand has been here for generations. And it has been a very large part of the labor force for generations dating back to, well, freelancers have been around since the beginning of the the job functions are a couple 100 years. But the temp market started with Kelly girls, after the Second World War. And so this has been a very important part. And it's been about 25% of the labor force for a very, very long time. Now in 2010, for some reason, everybody started saying, okay, but by 2020, it's going to be 50%. And that was one of those predictions that I was like, oh, man, I gotta write a book. Because that that's just, that doesn't make any sense. Like that's a that's a bad prediction. It's not based on evidence. And everybody keeps saying it. And what people were saying, or seeing in some vary from from data from 2009 to 2010, was the growth in the on demand economy from in that, that one year from Oh, nine to 2009 to 10. And they just started extrapolating and said, Well, if it continues to grow at that rate, you're like, Okay, but economies move in cycles. And you're looking at at one point in the economic cycle, where there's always expansion, as people come out of recession, on demand economy always increases. And yet everybody took him just ran with it. Look, there are certain. And so what we did see, by the way, from 2010 to 2020, was the on demand economy increase in 25%. of labor force to about 28%. Well, so all Park What happened? Right, that is, and look, it's hard to find data on this because we have survey data from our friends at Upwork. We have survey data from our friends at MBO partners, we have survey data from the unbelievable experts at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the ADP Research Institute, which I had the pleasure of working with is they put together a gig economy report used not only survey data, but the data from ADP, vast data lakes, in order to be able to put together a view as to what really happened over the last 10 years. And so there there's the report, I kind of tend to double click on, but always, my view is always informed by the other data sources. And so look, we saw a 3% market share gain, that's nothing to sneeze at, you know, over a 10 year period, that's a substantive move in the labor markets and that was ballpark the most intelligent prediction one would have made. That's what a thoughtful prediction would have been in 2010. Now that we sit in 2020, you know what everybody's saying? Oh, by 2030 it's like you don't get to do that. There are certain job functions. And there are certain industries that lend themselves very well to an on demand labor construct, because the work can be disaggregated. It can be broken into tasks, it can be done by on demand labor, and it can be re aggregated and delivered to a client. And there are certain industries and certain functions where it just will never work, either from a business process standpoint or from a regulatory standpoint. And so the idea that there's going to be this huge growth in the on demand economy is insane, it will never happen, unless there are fundamental changes to business process, do some fundamental changes to the regulatory environment, the United States, neither which are are coming in the near term with definitively like those will not happen in the near term. And so I would argue, based on my research, that if we looked at every single job that could that where the business process allowed it and the regulatory environment allowed it, your absolute peak is about 40%. Absolute peak, and I don't think we get anywhere close that peak anytime soon. And so will the on demand labor market continue? Its slow and steady growth? Yeah, I think so. No question. But I will tell you this, I have never been in the meeting. And I've been in 1000s of these meetings, where swear a CEO has said, You know what? I want to convert all my w two workers to 1099. And, Jeff, I need your software to do that. Because our software was the piece of software that enabled companies to do it. That's what it was. I've never been in that meeting. You know, meaning I've been in a lot. I've been in the Yeah, we use a lot of tonight nights, but we're getting really nervous about the regulatory environment. And we're, I think we're going to stop using 1099. Our lawyers, and procurement and HR are pushing us to just just use full time workers and part time workers part time w twos. And so I think that's what we're gonna do that meaning have been in a few 100 times.

Kyle Roed:

Sure. Yeah. And I just think about, you know, jobs with long time to competencies.

Jeff Wald:

Mm hmm.

Kyle Roed:

It just doesn't, it doesn't make sense to invest heavily in training somebody who is potentially able to pick up an app and go work someone somewhere else. And waste all that training energy,

Jeff Wald:

right? I mean, it's just, it doesn't make sense. So you are 100%? Correct. I will tell you, a little anecdote is that as I was writing the book, I started to put together what I call the labor equation. And the labor equation was where are those breakpoints where you would use a full time worker versus a part time worker versus a temp versus a freelancer. And I started getting some calculus going, including things around ramp up time, to your point, around costs, certainly cost is a variable in that equation around the intellectual property involved. The customer touch points, the institutional knowledge being involved, the complexity of the business process, the regulatory environment, and a host of other variables. And there's a whole chapter in the book called The labor equation. But I literally got a little beautiful mind on it, I was writing it all up on the walls on the windows in my office, and person, actually, and they were all these complex series of calculus equations with something called a system of equations. And the person that taught me calculus actually showed up my office one day, and she looked at the windows, and she's like, what's this? I was like, Oh, my gosh, check this out. This is a system of equations around how companies engage labor. And she looked at it. She look left, look, right. She looked at me and she goes, this gibberish. This makes zero sense. You remember nothing of what I taught you. And that person, by the way, is my mother was a calculus professor, and she just was very, very disappointed.

Kyle Roed:

Oh, man, that's a blow to the ego. I'm sorry about that. Jeff. Oh, she's

Jeff Wald:

very unimpressed with everything I do. Now, I'm never getting over that hump.

Kyle Roed:

You know what she probably set you up for success by by by raising you that way? Have you done the calculus on that one?

Jeff Wald:

I tried. It turned out my math was wrong.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, kudos to all the mothers out there dealing for dealing with people like me and Jeff.

Jeff Wald:

Amen to them. Yeah.

Kyle Roed:

But it's, it's fascinating, I think, you know, that's one of those big questions. Yeah, one of those predictions that Yeah, half of all of us are going to be, you know, contingent workers. Is, is an interesting prediction. I do think it's been interesting just in my world, in the world of manufacturing, we have seen a heavy increase in leveraging contingent, you know, temporary staff to eliminate some of the churn on the selection side of the business where it's almost like the approach is let's test drive this employee and see if they're the right fit. But then typically, what you will see is then as soon as the company is able to convert to a full time employee, and they feel like they've got the you know, the the individual Train where they want and the behaviors where they want. And they Yeah, they go to a W two. So yeah, that'll be interesting to see where that goes. And then to your point. The other big concern or change is the regulatory environment. You know, we that may work now, depending on what this administration does, it may not work tomorrow. So very true. Gotta be nimble. So, all right, so let's, let's keep going with this trend, because I'm just I'm fascinated to hear more about this research. So the other I think the other prediction is, our jobs are going to be taken by robots. So I'm going to be replaced with an HR robot.

Jeff Wald:

I will say HR is one of the many, many functions that I think has very limited risk to displacement. So love the framing of your question. The headlines that you hear are 50% of jobs are gonna be lost to robots in AI. That's the headlines that make their way. And part of that is not poor analysis, because the studies that are referenced McKinsey and PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Oxford University, Peter, and that's not what their studies say. And so that's not bad analysis. That is social media driven headlines. Because the headline of the report is 50% of jobs susceptible to automation, you can be susceptible to automation all day long doesn't mean the jobs displaced. The job of waiter and waitress is susceptible to automation, right? I don't need someone to hand me a piece of paper with what's on the menu. I don't need them to give me the recommendations AI can do that. I don't need them to tell me what wine goes without a I can do that. I don't need them to write down what I want, I can click a bunch of things, and it can be sent into the kitchen. I don't need them to do anything except physically move food from one place to another, which quite frankly, a little robot could do all that technology exists. But do I think that jobs have a high degree of probability of being removed? No. Because it's not that simple. Just because a tech exists doesn't mean a job gets displaced. So even though wrote waiters and waitresses are very high on the list of job susceptible automation. As consumers we don't want that experience. And so, even though the Tech has existed for 10 years to displace every waiter and waitress, we have seen little to no job displacement due to technology. So it's important to look at history data and how companies engage workers. And we can go through examples from the ATM, we can go through examples in the truck driving industry, which I've done very deep dives on on both. But the point is when we have an industrial revolution, and this is our fourth industrial revolution. mechanization is the first electrification, the second computerization the third, each time, we go through these three phases, where there's the freakout phase, and the freakout phases, oh my gosh, the spinning jenny, and the weaving loom, and the cotton gin exists, and there'll be no jobs anywhere. Okay. And then we get to that second phase, which is the phase of economic and societal disruption, because jobs are lost, and they're lost in mass. And they're not lost over the quickly in the first three industrial revolutions, they will be lost relatively quickly in this one. But you have actually a lot of dislocation that occurs. And then you very quickly get into that third phase. And that third phase is more jobs are created, either in the industries where jobs are displaced, because they massively increased the amount of productivity and therefore more units are needed. And therefore, even though the number of jobs per unit is decreased, the number of units increases, therefore the number of jobs decreases, or in other industries, and yada, yada, yada. And we right now we're in that second phase of the fourth industrial revolution, we just passed the freakout phase, because we freaked out about it. Now we're in that economic dislocation face, and jobs are starting to disappear. But when you look historically, there are three things that are very, very clear, almost uninterrupted trends in the world of work. One is, there are ever more jobs. Just when you look at the number of jobs on the planet, it just keeps going up. Number two, the number of hours that people work, keep going down almost uninterrupted since the beginning of the word job, which is about a 200 year old institution. And number three is increasing standards of living, almost uninterrupted, just we keep having higher and higher standards of living. While we work fewer and fewer hours. Those things are uninterrupted. And so to think that it's going to be different this time, might it be sure, but it just seems unlikely. I can't I don't know the case in which it becomes that true dystopian future. And if I can jump in on the ATMs, if I could double click on that, is that okay? Sure. So the ATM is an example. We talked about in the book, the ATM was invented in 1969. But it took 25 years 1995 till the ATM appeared and every central bank branch. So again, just because the ticket exists doesn't mean that it's ready to take the job. The ATM doesn't disguise what it wants to be right? It's called an automated teller machine. It's a machine that is automating the job of the teller is very clear what it is and its name. At the time that 25 for the ATM appeared in every single bank branch. There were 500,000 bank tellers in the United States of America. What do you think everyone predicted? In 1995? About the bank teller job?

Kyle Roed:

Gone?

Jeff Wald:

Gone? Right? just gone? No more bank tellers? All the bank tellers are gone. How many bank tellers Do you think there are in the United States today? Ooh. Oh, you didn't know I was gonna ask you questions.

Kyle Roed:

No, yeah, no, no, my my, my beautiful mind calculus is going away. I'm gonna go 300,000.

Jeff Wald:

There are 600,000 bank tellers. today.

Kyle Roed:

I was Anyway, there, here's the thing,

Jeff Wald:

you double your Look, your guests was better than most. I'll say that. The number when you look at and this is what one needs to do. When you think about a job function. There are 704 basic different job functions. And when we look at the component tasks of each job function, we need to understand how many of those component tasks are repetitive high volume processes. If 100% of the task is a competitive high volume process, then unless there's some other variable, like customer service environment, or things like that, like our waiter and waitress example, that job historically, is fully lost. All people that work in that function are eliminated over time 100% of the component tasks, as you start moving away from 100%, you start to see the job losses start to move almost in tandem, as you decrease, we go from 100%, or better volume tasks to 100 and 100%, job loss down to 75% and 75%. And then somewhere around 50, it breaks, it breaks, it almost goes to zero. So when there are about 50%, or fewer of the repetitive high volume tasks, almost no job losses. And so when we have that 50 to 75%, we see that somewhat geometric relationship of decreasing, but we look at the bank teller, about 60% of the bank teller job was their repetitive high volume task of giving out cash and taking in cash. And so that would lead us to believe that somewhere around 50%, maybe 60% of bank teller jobs will go. And interestingly, that's kind of actually what happened is it the average number of tellers per branch went from 21, down to 13. But the number of bank branches in the United States nearly doubled, because of banking, deregulation. And it just goes to show that any simple conclusion belays, the mass complexity that goes into labor resource planning, it's not new tech exists, therefore, job goes, right, it involves all of these things that we talked about in regards to the labor equation. And so it is, it's something that your your listeners should be incredibly mindful of, you can't paint anything with a broad brush, just because it happened in one industry doesn't mean it's gonna happen or another. Just because it happened at one function doesn't mean it's going to happen to another. And you can't make that simple conclusion that because this tech exists, that job will go, is it possible? Sure. But you need to really use those critical thinking skills, and really look at the data really look at history, and then you can make an assessment as to what may happen in the near term, and in the medium term, on jobs in that function in that industry.

Kyle Roed:

Well said, it's, it's a really interesting corollary, I just when you articulated that point, it's it's to me, it just reminded me of the theory of economics, where it's supply and demand. And how many times do people think about demand and forget about supply? You know, you know, just because we're not using as much oil doesn't necessarily mean that the price of oil will plummet because we can manipulate the supply. That's why oil prices go up and down and won't go to zero. I will tell

Jeff Wald:

you, it is fundamental in all of my analysis is that it really comes down to supply and demand. When people look at different job functions and what's happened to workers. At the end of the day, you have this power balance between companies and workers. And there are fewer jobs and there are workers. That's just how things have existed in throughout all of human history, except in specific job functions in specific technologies in specific geographies. Right. If you're a blockchain developer right now, or a cyber security person, there is a huge supply and demand imbalance in your favor. There are many fewer of you than there are people that want employ you. And in those circumstances, by the way, we tend to see those workers move to that on demand contract that you referenced earlier of. I don't want to work for one company. I'll do some consulting gigs here there, and I'll work from the beach.

Kyle Roed:

Right. Right. Yeah, I think it's so important. And it's it's a great reminder. I mean, I don't know how many times we get into an argument or heated debate with a hiring manager that thinks, well, you know, we can't pay this because that's higher than we typically pay. And, you know, the argument that we have to make an HR as well, you may not want to pay it, but the market is dictating that you will, or you won't fill it, that it's it's a it is an equation, but it's not necessarily an equation people like, yeah. Yeah. And I think it's, yeah, it's, it's interesting to reflect on that very well said, so. I'm glad I'm not gonna be replaced by a robot. Although I do have a funny story. I do actually have an HR peer, who is a robot at work, because she works remote. And they literally bought a robot for her to interface with people with through a monitor in the office. Because you couldn't be in the office. This was before COVID this was this little thing

Jeff Wald:

like moves around the office. Yeah, I mean, fantastic.

Kyle Roed:

It's like it. Yeah, like a what's that 80s movie with the

Jeff Wald:

rocky that was rocky for?

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, Rocky, it's like the robot from rocky with it. Head on and earlier head on it? Yep. So cool. Not my company, I can't take credit for that. One of the things that I thought was really interesting, and I think it might be worth digging into a little bit is the idea that jobs haven't existed for more than a few centuries. And that what we assume is normal and has been around forever, is actually a relatively new concept. So can you explore that for us and try and help us understand kind of that historical background?

Jeff Wald:

Well, in order for there to be a job there needed to be a company. And companies as entities didn't really start to exist, except for a few 100 years ago, we had the first few companies in like the late 1600s, mostly exploration companies. But the first companies that then had factories started in the first Industrial Revolution. And so you're looking at the late 1700s, were the first time where a worker comes and starts going to a job every day, the word itself is only about 180 years old, where people actually called it a job. But you couldn't have a job until you had a company that employed people at scale. And that just didn't start happening, except for, you know, 200 250 years ago. But what people were doing is they were offering their skills in a marketplace to say, Hey, I can do a quick job here doing this, I can do a job there. They were freelancers, right gig economy, of work, the gig economy is hardwired, in our experience, for 1000s of years, a job and going to a place of work, whether we physically go to work or not. I don't think it's relevant. But having a job and working for somebody else. That is not something that's hardwired into the human experience.

Kyle Roed:

So while you HR people who wonder, okay, why can't people work well as part of a team or why why are we having so many workplace issues, we're not supposed to

Jeff Wald:

have a DNA, center DNA to be entrepreneurs.

Kyle Roed:

There you go. I'm just I'm kind of building a hypothesis in my mind, and I'm reflecting on generational differences in the workplace. And then and the fact that, you know, there's all this argument that kids these days, they're not loyal, they don't, you know, want to be well, maybe they're just, maybe they're just not beat down by society yet. And they're just actually just being true to their authentic hard wiring.

Jeff Wald:

I will tell you this, let's let's go to the data. What do we know about you know, the millennial today, they stay in a job an average of two years. What do we know about the person the same age in 1980? Well, we know they like to, they like Hulk Hogan. We know those things. Mr. T, probably. But people the same age cohort in 1980 stayed in a job for two years. It is a part of getting your stuff started in employment, that has a very short time horizon, not something necessarily that's to do with this different cohort of people. And I'm not saying all the cohorts are exactly the same, but to pretend that it's something entirely new would not would be disingenuous.

Kyle Roed:

I did love Mr. T. Who didn't

Jeff Wald:

I pity the fool that didn't like Mr. T.

Kyle Roed:

So total tangent but I actually introduced my HR intern to Mr. T. And, and pulled up a YouTube video as a as an inspirational lesson for Her. And I'm sure it really changed her perspective on the world. But

Jeff Wald:

it always he always will.

Kyle Roed:

Oh, but what I what a fascinating conversation and I sincerely appreciate the approach and the fact that it's data driven. And, and not an opinion is, I think, important to highlight here. So, I do want to shift gears. we're rounding the end of our time here. So I would like to go into the rebel HR flash round.

Jeff Wald:

Bring it on. Alright.

Kyle Roed:

Question number one. What are you reading right now?

Jeff Wald:

Well, I read The Economist every week. And that is the only thing that I read aside from books that I write. the only book in this house right now is my book.

Kyle Roed:

Yeah, yeah. You've been busy. You've you've been writing? Have you written a couple? You've written two more books than me? I think so. If not multiple more. That's what I've got on my list. So I get that. I get that. All right. Question number two, Who should we be listening to?

Jeff Wald:

Who should we be listening to? I think the most appropriate thing to say right now in this point in human history is we should be actually listening to experts. And scientists who have done the work and are, have spent decades in their field studying things. And we should not be listening to our friends on social media. We should be listening to the actual experts in the space who know what they're talking about.

Kyle Roed:

All right, I'm gonna be a little controversial for a minute. But it's rebel HR. So I'm supposed to be and I don't really care if this pisses off our listeners, it's my podcast deal with it. So for the person on my Facebook feed, who said, Dr. Fauci, he's so stupid, I would just encourage you to go Google the number of degrees and publications that he's done in his life and tell me if you have done that in the same field, and then I'll listen to your views on epidemiology.

Jeff Wald:

100%. I mean, who we're gonna listen to the world's leading experts on this, not to say that they're not fallible, right. But it's funny, because people will say, Oh, well, they said this, and they said this, yeah, they change their mind when new evidence was brought to light. Right? That's what people do. That is an evolving situation that nobody understands. So people's best guesses. I'm gonna go with the best guests or the people that know the most, right this data.

Kyle Roed:

Right now, objective people will change their mind when presented with new data. fairpoint. All right. Last question here. How can our listeners connect with you?

Jeff Wald:

So you know, we got a we got some Twitter, Twitter's the only place to actually go by Jeffrey, because I couldn't get at Jeff wall. So at Jeffrey Wald on Twitter. I actually just recently launched my own website, which I'm very excited about Jeff wall.com. I've owned Jeff wall.com, for about 25 years, and I just finally got a chance to do something with it. When the internet first came out, I went and got it. And every year, I've been paying 1999 to some web hosting service, and I finally launched something. But LinkedIn is always best. And I'm always happy to connect with people to talk about the future of work. And I certainly advise and consult a lot of companies, on their labor for strategies.

Kyle Roed:

All right, and we will have all that information in the show notes so that you can get connected with Jeff, I strongly encourage it and in our conversation here, I just sincerely appreciate the thoughtful and methodical approach to what the future of work will look like. Thanks for joining us, Jeff.

Jeff Wald:

It's such a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Kyle Roed:

All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. Using opinions expressed by podcast, not necessarily this podcast

Jude Roed:

maybe