It’s not all doom and gloomThere has been good news for some. Few could have predicted the incredible rise of Bitcoin, and now other cryptocurrencies. Launched back in 2009, it wasn’t until last year that cryptocurrencies really hit the headlines. According to CoinMarketCap.com, the total market value of the capitalisation of cryptocurrencies had topped $500bn dollars – a rise of over 3,000 per cent – in 2017. Cryptocurrencies are becoming mainstream currency, and while we are not yet paying for our daily loaf with bitcoin, those days may not be far off. Against all odds, the traditional stock market grew last year, both in Europe and in the US. This was despite investor worries surrounding Trump, Kim Jung Un, Brexit, the Middle East, Russia, China, Mexico and Boris Johnson. The International Monetary Fund is optimistic that the global economy will do slightly better still in 2018, even allowing for UK’s stagnant efforts. Economists are taking a semi-optimistic view of the year ahead, albeit with some cautions of stability and a fair wind. High street banks are shrinking faster and faster – unable to provide the ease of digital banking now demanded in the marketplace. Indeed, pressure on all high street retailers is unrelenting. Theo Paphitis is quoted as saying “In all my years, I have never seen it so hard and unforgiving”. Paphitis blames the government for pushing retail to the edge of the precipice, saying that their thinking lags well behind global development in areas of business legislation, policy and taxation, along with their continued disinterest in retail. I take his point, but then I don’t think it is much different in many other sectors.
Pressure mounts for finance professionalsWith the impatience of the modern consumer, financial brokers may find their roles under pressure, as middle men are cut for speed and increased customer service. Financial services are starting to suffer the disruption of the shared economy and digitisation. With more mobile banking, more cyber attacks will occur. Tech security is a booming industry to be in, with voice recognition ID being a particularly hot rock. Internet of Things (IoT) hacks and attacks are on the increase too. Add in the sinister RATS (remote observation tools), IT security will be an area everyone in which every business owner will need to invest in future. In addition, GDPR seems to be producing extremes of panic or disinterest, depending on who in business you talk to, and many believe workplaces are going to step up with heavier handed anti-harassment policies this year, as the wave of accusations continues. 2018 might not be the year that we all become out of work from automation, but our world is already starting to be transformed, and automation will impact on all our lives and jobs from now on. Unfortunately, the biggest reason I hear from businesses for automation is staffing issues. Changing technology, AI, changes in the economy, and changes to our expectations of quality of life are all going to be big business challenges in the year ahead.
Jan Cavelle continues her examination of millennials by discussing why management styles must change as employee behaviour and demands continue to evolve.
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