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Jobs of the future: Cognizant predicts 21 emerging HR roles for the next decade

The COVID-19 crisis has seen people adapt to new ways of living, working and forging relationships. While the full implications are still unclear, the pandemic is certain to accelerate workforce transformation and increase demand for digitally-enabled jobs. HR’s role within organisations should and will be central to this transformation. As we experience shifts in how and where we work and the technology tools we use, employees are increasingly turning to their employers for guidance on how to navigate the future of work and prepare for the next decade.

The anticipated changes to the world of HR will give rise to the emergence of many new roles, which are highlighted in a recent joint report from Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work and Future Workplace: 21 HR jobs of the future.

Emerging HR roles are based on five fundamental needs

The 21 jobs outlined in the report encompass five essential themes:

  • Well-being: with the growth of the digital economy, our “always on” way of working, the stresses in managing work-life balance, coupled with dealing with the coronavirus, it has never been more important to help workers take care of themselves. New HR jobs, like distraction prevention coaches, workplace environment architect, chief purpose planner and director of well-being will be created to drive employee wellness as a business strategy rather than merely an office perk.


  • Organisational trust: HR professionals are in a unique position to be guardians of ethical and responsible workplaces. The proliferation of a “culture of data”, where every decision is based on data, increases that requirement and amplifies the need to create systems to ensure there is fairness, transparency and accountability within senior HR leadership. This will lead to HR job roles such as genetic diversity officer, human bias officer and algorithm bias auditor, which help to mitigate bias (algorithmic or otherwise) within all of the business functions that HR oversees.


  • Creativity and innovation: in a post-coronavirus world, everything that can go virtual, will go virtual, from meetings to employee training. New HR roles will be created around these mandates, from WFH facilitators to VR immersion counsellors, to help realise the potential of scaling best-in-class remote workforce programs.


  • Data literacy: HR professionals should ensure that data literacy becomes part of the organisation’s culture, and HR jobs of the future need to exemplify evidence-based decisions. With organisational network analysis already heating up, human network analysts are expected to emerge to better understand the “natural network” of how people come together and stay connected using artificial intelligence and data analytics.


  • Human and machine partnerships: teams of humans and machines will lead to the creation of new HR roles focusing on cooperative working. Human-machine teaming managers will operate at the intersection of humans and machines, increasing cooperation rather than competition and creating a new seamless collaboration.

Robert Hoyle Brown, Vice President, Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work, comments:

“As HR leaders are often consumed with handling impending disruption to jobs due to automation, changing workforce demographics or multi-generational workforces, they have less time to address the key issue of how these massive transformations will impact the organisation – and fundamentally change the role of HR professionals.

“As workforces continue to change in their composition, habits and tools, HR departments need to adapt to their employees’ changing needs. This ultimately presents opportunities within the HR function itself to both reflect and then drive this progression.

“This is HR’s ’moment of truth’ – the opportunity to lead organisations in navigating the future of work and prepare workers for the next decade. Emerging roles such as the ones outlined in our report are integral to the future success of Chief HR Officers, their teams, and to driving employee engagement.”