It's no secret that the workplace has changed dramatically since the mid-20th century. Women are now an important part of the workforce and advances in technology have provided incredible flexibility and freedom in our work.

By Mia Kollia
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos

In recent decades, getting a degree was seen as the only way to land a well-paying job. Now we're seeing a shift to a workforce that's based on different types of skills, and that's making it easier for people to discover jobs they really enjoy doing.

Let's look at how work has changed in recent decades and how it might evolve in the future.

The workplace once upon a time

The 1940s saw a radical shift in the workforce, with an increase in working women leaving the home to work while men went off to war. They enjoyed having a career in the modern workplace and many found work as secretaries, nurses and flight attendants. For men, jobs were mainly in the industrial or agricultural sector, including positions as mechanics and bus drivers, while others worked as managers and executives.

The Information Age was upon us when the 1960s and 1970s arrived. The workforce was growing rapidly and an economic transition was taking place due to the introduction of automation. In the 1980s, communication in offices was still done through landlines and face-to-face meetings, but slowly e-mail and word processing programs appeared.

The Internet made its debut in the 1990s and 2000s. Manufacturing jobs began to decline and there was a shift to focus on acquiring professional skills. As the 2010s approached, job creation was booming and unemployment was falling. This gave way to practices we experience now, with people able to start a business with little capital, work remotely thanks to modern technological advancements and collaborate with people all over the world.

There have been many other changes in recent decades that have significantly affected the way work has changed, including:

• Declines in industries such as coal mining, call center jobs, agriculture and construction.

• Strikes by workers due to poor working conditions, labor disputes and rising unemployment.

• Shifting jobs from agriculture and manufacturing to jobs created in the technology sector.

• Technological innovations that enabled automation and e-commerce capabilities.

Future of Work


The workplace today

There are many differences in how work has changed from the past to today. The Covid-19 pandemic has made workers fear for their future - millions of people have lost their jobs and are still trying to manage many financial problems. If we look at the positive side of all that has happened, we notice a focus on creating a better atmosphere in the workplace, using new tools for remote work and collaboration through social networks, smartphones and online file sharing.

There are many other important developments that have changed the current work environment:

• Covid-19 has given workers in some sectors the leverage they need to expect higher wages and enhanced benefits.

• Workers are demanding more flex time and paid parental leave.

• Organisations are expected to raise the minimum wage in order to hire skilled workers.

The workplace in the future

Almost everyone agrees on two things. First, our skills matter more than degrees used to, and second, because skills are so important, we need more opportunities to acquire them.

Covid-19 has shaken industries and many established careers, forcing many people to change jobs or even sectors. It doesn't matter so much where we used to work, but more what we can do now. With this in mind, we should not hesitate to expand our skills nor be afraid to apply for jobs that may require more specialised training.

Freelancing and remote work will become the norm while in the past used to be the exception, with many people doing second jobs to supplement their income.  

Regarding the development of the workplace, there are three main points of interest:

• Both employers and employees are hungry for more training and career development. 

• Cooperation with employees on a personal level and satisfying their needs is essential.

• Technology is now part of the solution, but it cannot replace the human factor in any job.