Charles Handy says routine office work will be gone in ten years


In an exclusive extract from a major interview with Dialogue, global management thinker Charles Handy says everyone should prepare for the change that’s coming

Routine office work will die out within ten years and those employed in it should prepare to find new jobs.

That is the view of Charles Handy, London Business School pioneer, globally recognized management thinker, speaker and philosopher. In major interview with the Q2 edition of Dialogue, Handy warns managers of the need to find new roles in a world changed forever by the march of the machines.

And he fires a stark warning to those in routine jobs in western economies: those jobs will cease to exist within a decade. “The world is going to change around them,” Handy tells Dialogue editor Ben Walker in the upcoming edition of Dialogue, to be published 1 March. “You can see the future in the present, if you know where to look for it.” He says that the internet data revolution has rendered information free-of-charge, and this fundamental change to the way the world works is causing everything we know to collapse around us. “Whenever a major new technology arrives it takes about 50 years to work its way through society,” he says. “We are about 25 years in.”

Those working in the caring professions and manual trades might escape mostly unscathed, he adds: “Education can be done by technology but, particularly in the early years, you are always going to need a degree of personal attention. There are some manual jobs too, like bricklaying, which cannot be automated or exported.” But those in semiskilled office jobs face an uncertain future: “If you work at an insurance company and you’re happily entering numbers in a ledger and putting them on a computer, believe me, you won’t be there in 10 years’ time.”

For the full interview, get your copy of Dialogue, in print or online, out 1 March.