Being labelled a techie used to be an impediment to advancement, but by 2010 technical skills will be more highly prized than ever, according to a study by management consultants Deloitte.
According to the report, "Eye to the Future — How Technology, Media and Telecommunications Advances Could Change the Way We Live in 2010", technology will continue to change the workplace and give an edge to those employees who are able to master and manage it.
"More and more, the ability to get things done is expected to depend on the ability to understand and use increasingly complex technology," said the report. "Those with a greater degree of technological literacy may find themselves moving up the corporate hierarchy more quickly than those without."
One of the areas where technology will become ever more evident is in cars, which will come equipped with more tools to improve remote working.
"By 2010 workers may select their car partly on the basis of the range of work tools provided," suggested Deloitte. "Desired features may include technology that can read out incoming emails to the driver; allow the driver to dictate responses; permit the driver to set up meetings, update 'to-do' lists and write short memos."
But despite the increasing importance of technical literacy, real technical skills will continue to be in short supply unless action is taken now, the report warned.
"Many nations may be facing employment crisis by 2010, with the most acute shortages being in IT workers. Companies, governments and employment authorities should consider acting sooner rather than later to ensure that investments in technology are matched by investments in skills," said Deloitte.
The wide-ranging report takes a "day in the life" perspective on technology in 2010, beginning with travel and moving through to the impact on work and finally entertainment.
Despite the rise of devices such as smartphones and PDAs, Deloitte believes the PC will continue to be the most popular computing device for businesses. The report forecasts that PC take-up will continue to grow between now and 2010: the relatively mature markets of the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific are expected to add 150 million new PCs, while developing economies are expected to add 566 million.
But the increase in the number of PCs being shipped will mean the industry will have to take a more responsible attitude to recycling, according to Paul Lee, research director at Deloitte. "Lack of components could be an important factor in the future. We have already seen Airbus buying up five or six years' worth of titanium, and computer manufactures may encounter similar shortages," said Lee.
The report also looked into the issue of mobile and remote working and concluded that the number of employees with always-on mobile email is forecast to rise from the current millions to at least tens of millions by 2010.
The report states that by 2008, 41 million corporate employees globally may spend at least one day a week teleworking, and 100 million will work from home at least one day a month.