2022 Tech Trends: Future of Work

Editor’s note: In a report titled 2022 Technology Trends and How They Impact Industry 4.0, Education, and Retail, a team of Orange Silicon Valley analysts with deep subject matter expertise looked at five key innovation trends and how these trends will affect the Industry 4.0, Education, and Retail sectors. This report – from Kevin Baker, David Martin, James Li, and Arpan Soparkar – is now being made available for our Orange Silicon Valley website readers in a series of five weekly articles.

This article examines Future of Work. Other articles in the series include the Metaverse (including XR/AR/VR); Data & AI (Artificial Intelligence); Sustainability; and Cloud/Edge Computing. Each section of the report includes success stories and promising startups that play into each trend. For additional questions or information, please email David Martin.

Trend 3: Future of Work

A recent report by Deloitte defines ‘Future of Work’ as ‘A result of many forces of change affecting three deeply connected dimensions of an organization: work (the what), the workforce (the who) and the workplace (the where).’ Beyond the expected generational, social, and technological shifts, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected – and accelerated – major changes in this sector, many of which have transcended into where we live and how we view our contribution to the greater economy. As per a 2021 Accenture Future of Work study, 63% of high-growth companies have already adopted a “productivity anywhere” workforce model. While this change opens up a global talent pool, it also poses new, challenging trends for employers such as flexible working hours, workforce engagement retention, diversity and inclusion as well as continuous worker upskilling.

Vertical: The Future of Work & Industry 4.0

The use of analytics in the workforce is providing a safer workplace and improving the efficiency and collaborative potential of workers. According to The Washington Post, the 50 biggest public companies in America issued statements and collectively pledged nearly $50 billion to address systemic racism. Currently, only 7% of people leaders use apps or technology-based tools to track employee issues at the manager level, according to HRAcuity, a provider of HR management software.


In 2021, Amazon invested more than $300 million into safety projects, including an initial $66 million to create technology that will help prevent collisions of forklifts and other types of industrial vehicles. This is partially in response to the fact that 40% of work-related injuries at Amazon are related to musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), things like sprains or strains that can be caused by repetitive motions, and the success they have seen in their efforts from 2019 to 2020 to prevent such injuries. New automated staffing schedules that use sophisticated algorithms to rotate employees among jobs that use different muscle-tendon groups to decrease repetitive motion and help protect employees from MSD risks led to a 32% decrease in overall MSDs in Amazon’s workforce. They are taking this a step further and testing motion-capture technology to assess the movement of employees performing tasks common in many Amazon facilities.


Humanyze uses data-driven insights around how work gets done. The Humanyze Platform helps companies drive better business outcomes by informing management, HR, and workplace decisions with speed and certainty.

Vertical: The Future of Work & Education

A 2017 report published by Dell Technologies and authored by the Institute For The Future (IFTF) and a panel of 20 experts announced that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 hadn’t even been invented yet. As technology continues to exponentially accelerate the pace of innovation and change, continuous education, also known as reskilling and upskilling, becomes more crucial than ever for both employers and employees. A 2019 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report found that 94% of employees would stay at a job longer if employers provided training and development opportunities. While a 2021 Adecco report finds that 66% of workers believe they need to gain new skills to stay employable in the coming years, a 2022 Gartner report shows that 68% of HR leaders currently don’t have a strategy for the future of work.


Multiple trailblazer companies have had early success in this space, including Lynda.com (acquired by LinkedIn for $1.5B in 2015) and Coursera (went public in March ’21 at $5.9B of market capitalization). Another success story is Teachable, a platform where anyone can create and sell online courses, which got acquired by Hotmart in 2020 for $250M.


Notable startups in this sector include Boston-based Mentor Collective helping college students match with mentors, and New York-based business education platform Section4, founded by Scott Galloway, a marketing professor at NYU, that raised $30M Series A round in March 2021.

Vertical: The Future of Work & Retail

The pandemic and the push to automation is changing the nature and number of retail jobs. Yet retailers are still having trouble finding talent despite wage increases and increased benefits. Employees have realized that they were the first to be let go during the pandemic and that many retail jobs do not provide a living wage. Employers have compensated with wage increases, but many employees have moved on.


Blue-collar workers today are more attracted to the flexibility of driving and delivery jobs or warehouse work with Amazon. In September 2021, Amazon announced that 750,000 operations employees are eligible for fully funded college tuition through its Career Choice program, including the cost of classes, books, and fees. In the United States, where the average student debt is $36,000 USD, free college tuition is a significant differentiator. To date, 50,000 Amazon employees have participated in the program.


Wonolo, WurkNow, and SalesMakers are staffing platforms for businesses to fill their immediate labor needs. Notably, Wonolo was part of the Orange Fab program out of San Francisco.