An important aspect of developing a long-term employer branding strategy is to consider what the working world will be like in the future.

The employment relationship is in the process of undertaking one of the most radical shifts since the industrial revolution. While the fundamental relationship of the employee providing work in exchange for money which enables him or her to live has not changed – competitive salary and benefits ranks as the number one criterion employees look for in the Randstad Award – both employers and employees are demanding more from the working relationship.

Interesting job content and good work-life balance are trends that have been important for some time. A trend that is quietly but steadily growing in importance is an employer’s commitment to the environment.

Gen Y has no concept of the world without digital communication

And it's emerging trends that will be the key to shaping both the employer brand and the employer value proposition (EVP) over the coming decades.

It’s worth considering that Generation X, which makes up the majority of senior management today, started their careers before the advent of the internet and email; the younger members of Generation Y (Millennials) have no concept of the world without digital communication.

Just as those who are just beginning their working lives now would not recognise the workplace Generation X started their careers in, it is doubtful that the generation that begins work in 2050 will recognise the workplace of today.

Changing technology is only one of drivers behind changing perceptions towards the world of work.

we are already seeing the shift from generalisation to specialisation

In her research exploring the future of work Lynda Gratton also cites the needs of a low-carbon economy, increasing globalisation, changing demographics including increased longevity, and social changes.

To some extent, we are already seeing the shift from generalisation to specialisation as employees take responsibility for developing their skills and employers seek candidates with mastery in their field – social media marketing is a good example of such an emerging specialisation.

Equally, flexible working has already been legislated for and the onus will be on employers to make it a reality. But many of these drivers will encourage other shifts and innovations.

Not all of these will be successful but the increasing need for employers and employees to work together to shape the world of work is likely to become part of the psychological contract and therefore will be central to the employer brand.

The first step in any such change is to understand where we are now and the direction of travel, which is what the Randstad Award survey seeks to provide.