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Trends Shaping the Future of Work

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NASCIO’s 2022 State CIO Top Priorities list, for the first time in over a decade, didn’t include costs and budgeting. No. 7 in this year’s list is workforce, but in truth, the entire list reflects the fact that everything about work — the where, why and how — is changing rapidly. Here, we’ll look at the trends shaping the future of work in government.

NASCIO’s 2022 State CIO Top Priorities list, for the first time in over a decade, didn’t include costs and budgeting. No. 7 in this year’s list is workforce, but in truth, the entire list reflects the fact that everything about work — the where, why and how — is changing rapidly. Here, we’ll look at the trends shaping the future of work in government.


First, let’s get something out of the way: Machines are not going to replace humans. However, they will ultimately take over many tedious, repetitive or otherwise onerous tasks, freeing up people for higher-value work. Artificial intelligence (AI) can analyze vast quantities of data to reveal relationships and make inferences and predictions beyond our human abilities. The human-machine pairing will take several different forms, all based on maximizing productivity and taking advantage of people’s unique talents and problem-solving abilities.

  • Amplify: Machines augment human work via tools such as predictive analytics
  • Steer: Machines provide adaptive learning to help people gain the knowledge needed to solve problems
  • Partner: Humans and machines work together to identify and solve problems through process mining
  • Parse: Work is broken up into tasks; some are handled by business process automation (BPA) while others require human judgment and expertise
  • Assist: Machines completely take over routine or previously manual processes via robotic process automation (RPA) and chatbots
Over the years, all workers will put in fewer hours as time becomes more important than money. Automation will take away some roles and tasks, but people simply won’t want to work as much. MCCi can help agencies prepare for this future with a combination of AI, machine learning (ML), process mining and other tools in a combination known as hyperautomation.


Many news articles have covered what’s being called the “Silver Tsunami,” the current and future waves of retiring baby boomers. On top of it, we now are experiencing the “Great Resignation.” While older Americans are leaving the workforce completely, younger generations — driven by the pandemic, global unrest and changing ideas about careers and the nature of work — are quitting their full-time positions in search of roles that meet their needs for work-life balance and professional and personal growth.


The needs and perspectives of millennials (45 percent of the workforce by 2024) and Generation Z will drive big changes. The good news is that these tech-savvy workers will be comfortable in the role of “the human in the loop” for the five person-machine pairing scenarios.

These two generations have some distinct differences:

  • Millennials seek flexibility and balance. They want to work for inclusive organizations that emphasize leadership ethics. Millennials also want to maximize their skill development via continuing education and switching roles (and employers).
  • Generation Z, in comparison to millennial workers, seeks job security and growth. Having grown up digitally, they seek interpersonal relationships. Gen Z also is more motivated by their desire to create change (social and environmental issues, etc.).

Both groups expect to change companies and roles several times as they pursue satisfaction beyond basic remuneration. And the ability to work remotely at this point is a given. Everyone wants that option! Employers that provide opportunities for skills enhancement, cross-training and personal development will be able to hire the best talent and create the strongest, most diverse and most engaged talent pool. This is the perfect segue to the next trend.


If you think about it, this trend is a natural outcome of the first two. As AI, BPA and RPA become commonplace, and as the employee-employer relationship evolves, so must our definitions of work and expectations of who does it. Traditional occupations will be parsed into a set of tasks and subtasks based on solving problems and driving innovation.

In the federal government, contractors outnumber feds at a ratio of 2.6 to 1. In the future, government agencies will still have full-time employees, but those individuals will be specialists who are aligned to the high-level mission of the organization or are public facing. Day-to-day business will be accomplished by a wide range of blended resources and talent, including[i]:

  • Permanent full-time employees (mission-critical staff)
  • Full-time and part-time contractors (management and team leaders, customer-facing roles)
  • Digital labor (AI and automation)
  • Ecosystem partners (nonprofits, businesses, labs)
  • Government ventures (incubators, tech accelerators)
  • Gig workers (hired for specific, one-off projects or based on seasonal demand)
  • Micro workers (people working on individual tasks or subtasks)
  • Crowd workers (crowd-sourced challenges with rewards for solutions)

Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts to manage, but the benefits of a collaborative workforce include:

  • Increased efficiency and productivity as people take on the work that best fits their skills and expertise
  • Less need for expensive office space
  • Workers use their own electricity and computing equipment
  • Automation and AI handle the work that humans can’t or don’t want to perform
  • Government becomes the recipient of tech transfers through public-private partnerships. Example: The Department of Energy’s SunShot Catalyst Program
While some aspects of this collaborative workforce are still years away, agencies will be best served by updating their hiring and onboarding processes today, as virtual and hybrid work is here to stay.


With fewer people seeking full-time employment or long-term commitments, and work performed by employees near, far and robotic, the concerns of human resources will shift from evaluating benefits providers to managing pooled interagency talent and rapidly selecting the best worker from a cloud-based inventory of available workers.

Government agencies will increasingly share resources, both offsite and onsite. Onsite? Well, it might sound strange today, but let’s look at a quick example. A state DHEC (Department of Health and Environmental Control) might regularly need the services of a graphic designer for a few hours each month, while a DDS (Disability Determination Services) in the same region keeps a full-time illustrator busy at a satellite location. There’s no reason for this worker to drive across town, and no need for DHEC to search for another graphic artist. The designer just needs the ability to securely log into a different infrastructure to perform the work.

But what about all those other resources like micro workers and gig workers? They’ll be managed via cloud-based talent pool, with their work output and quality evaluated by a ratings system similar to Tripadvisor or Amazon. To keep the digital-native workers engaged, human resource management (HRM) systems will include gamification, where task-based and gig workers gain access to educational resources and entertainment as they complete assignments.

In a sponsored piece published in The Atlantic, Deloitte envisions the concept of a GovCloud:

Instead of endeavoring to predict the future, governments can choose to create a flexible workforce that can quickly adapt to future work requirements. To accomplish this, the government can learn from a game-changing concept in the technology world: cloud computing.

Major organizations and small startups alike increase their flexibility by sharing storage space, information and resources in a “cloud,” allowing them to quickly scale resources up and down as needed. Why not apply the cloud model to people?

Services like MCCi’s managed cloud provide a secure, scalable and efficient way to empower employees to work from anywhere with the latest automation tool set.

Narrowcaster: A narrowcaster will be a specialist in sending specific, targeted content to a small audience. For local and state governments, narrowcasters will likely be a shared resource where agencies serve similar demographics


Do you remember when there was a video store employing multiple salesclerks in almost every town, and the role of cybersecurity expert sounded like something out of a sci-fi thriller? Now, cybersecurity is one of the fields with the greatest demand and number of unfilled positions, and VHS technicians are as lonely as the Maytag repair guy. As we move forward and integrate technology into our work and everyday lives, it’s only natural that new needs will create new jobs. World Economic Forum[ii], ZDNet[iii] and other organizations have explored the jobs of the future. Let’s look at a handful of them.

  • Human-Machine Teaming Manager: An extension of the robotics technician role, these specialists will help with training development, IT setup and HR processes.
  • Algorithm Bias Auditor: From hiring decisions to actuarial data used in insurance and finance, this role will help ensure that predictive algorithms don’t make faulty conclusions based on skewed training and testing data sets.
  • Cyber Calamity Forecaster: From individual hackers to coordinated groups (ex. Conti), cyber attacks will grow in number and sophistication. Forecasters will need skills in computer programming, geopolitics and social sciences to predict attacks and their potential outcomes.
  • Weather Modification Police: As technologies are developed to counter climate change, it’s easy to envision these tools in the hands of bad actors. These specialists would merge law enforcement and meteorological expertise.

The common theme for all five of these future jobs is the confluence of big data, AI and human judgment.


More than 1 billion people worldwide will need new skills by 2030. Earlier, we talked about how the next generations of workers have grown up with computers and are comfortable with technology. Here’s the flipside:
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Source: Center for State and Local Government Excellence (SLGE), SURVEY FINDINGS: STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT WORKFORCE 2021

To prepare for the future, agencies must provide the ability for younger workers to build their “soft skills” while also providing training on specific tools and technologies. In addition to in-person meetings and other team-building tactics, learning to create automation (online aid applications and funds distribution processes, chatbots for customer support, etc.) is a great way for employees to practice soft skills while building tools that take care of repetitive tasks.


While no one can predict the future, MCCi can help you be ready for the challenges of a truly digital workplace so you can take full advantage of all the cost savings, efficiencies, and most importantly, the ability to better serve your citizens. It is important to assess and prepare for the future of work now as federal modernization funds are available for this exact purpose.

The employment report issued June 5, 2020, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that state and local government employment fell by 571,000 jobs in May. The month before, the loss was 964,000, for a two-month total of 1.535 million public-sector jobs lost. The only way to hedge against the talent shortage and skills gap is augment your staffing approach and deploy automation across your enterprise.

Download our white paper, The Future of Work in Government, to prepare today.


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