Morgan Stanley
  • Technology
  • Sep 26, 2018

The Revolutionary Future of Work

Challenges and opportunities in a digitalised workplace.

What will a robotic future mean for the human workforce?

The advent of technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will usher in a new era for workplace productivity.

Change will also be steered by other factors, such as business model disruptions, regulations and demographic and societal trends.

For managers and Human Resource professionals it represents a whole new landscape and demands a fresh approach to managing human capital.



The big question most people are asking is whether or not automation and AI could significantly reduce the number of jobs available to human workers?

From a global perspective, some studies, including by Oxford University and the OECD, estimate up to 47% of jobs in the US and 35% in the UK could potentially be at risk by the early 2030s.

At the other end of the prediction scale there are economic optimists who tout the fact that historically, new technologies have gone on to prove the naysayers wrong by ultimately creating more jobs than they destroy.

According to Morgan Stanley Research, irrespective of whether we take an optimistic or pessimistic view there will be certainly be “a need for companies to design reskilling strategies and collaborate with educational institutions to ensure a stream of well-prepared workers.

Morgan Stanley Research has also tentatively asks whether labour cost savings from technology could lead to production reshoring, with implications for the location of labour.

There is no doubt that modern automation will have an impact on the job market, but demographic conditions set an ideal backdrop to absorb this new technology.

- Morgan Stanley Wealth Managementi


Two demographic factors come head to head in a backdrop to the emerging workplace revolution – the impact of an ageing workforce, combined with the working preferences of millennials.

The proportion of people aged 55-64 is expected to rise from 13 to 15% of the global population over the course of the next decade, according to the UN World population prospects.

According to Morgan Stanley Research, this puts the onus on employers to: “rethink how they manage this part of the labour market. We think companies will also need to adapt human capital strategies to satisfy millennials calls for more flexible and independent work.”


For information on investment opportunities in disruptive technology and innovation please contact your Morgan Stanley Financial Adviser.


iArtificial Intelligence and Automation: Fourth Industrial Revolution.’ Scott Helfstein; Ian P. Manley. Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. February, 2018.