The nature of jobs and workplaces are changing. Photo: Israel Andrade

Inaugural 30% Club Ireland Cork event focuses on future of work

The Future of Work was the theme of the first 30% Club Ireland event to be held in Cork at BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. in Shanbally this week.

Graham Healy, a Deloitte partner in the company’s Cork office and Barry Winkless, Group Chief Strategy Officer Cpl and Head of the Future of Work Institute discussed the topic, with 30% Club representatives from businesses across the county, and a broader virtual audience.

The 30% Club is a global campaign supported by board chairs and CEOs of medium and large organisations, committed to achieving better gender balance at leadership levels and throughout their organisation, for better business outcomes.

Established in 2015, the Irish chapter hosts more than 300 organisations representing more than 650,000 employees nationwide.

BioMarin is a global biotechnology company dedicated to transforming lives through genetic discovery and has become the newest member of 30% Club Ireland.

Hosting the Future of Work event, BioMarin Vice President and Site Leader Conor Delaney commented: “At BioMarin, we are committed to fostering a workplace that embraces diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We believe that a diverse and inclusive environment enables greater engagement, innovation and performance, ultimately benefiting our employees, our business and the patients we serve.”

Changing nature of jobs

Attendees at the event heard from Barry Winkless that the future of work is about the 3 W's of workplace, workforce and worktasks - and and how leaders can harness the opportunities presented by it, “as long as they think about it in a connected and integrated way”.

“At a business level the very essence of what work is, what constitutes a job or what represents an organisation is evolving at a rapid rate.

“Digital technologies are rewriting the rules of engagement and there are exponential challenges and opportunities for organisations trying to attract and retain the best talent.”

“From our research, which sampled over 1,000 employees, a blended mix of in-office and at-home is the preference for 85% of those surveyed. For many organisations, the physical workplace will remain as is, in manufacturing settings, for example. However, for others we may see a re-evaluation/re-imagining of the role of the physical office as a hub, club, a place for deep social collaboration, an experiential place, or an area where the important meetings need to happen,” he added.

Graham Healy told the gathering that as digital transformation continues to grow exponentially, “businesses need a clear strategy and leadership to deliver the change”.

“AI and other tools will help remove or speed up repetitive tasks, enabling the upskilling of employees. Building diverse workforces will also become more of a focus, not least because it is proven to lead to better business outcomes – but it is also more reflective of modern Irish society.”

Gillian Harford, 30% Ireland Country Executive said she was delighted to welcome BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc.

“As a global campaign, the 30% Club is focusing on a path to parity in terms of achieving gender balance on the boards and senior management teams of large and medium-sized organisations. Ireland has made progress on this front, but there is a lot of work still to be done.

“So, for the 30% Club Ireland, the future of work conversation provides a significant opportunity to rethink our work systems and practices and enable all talent to progress equitably to senior roles of influence, to drive better business outcomes,” she said.