The legendary business academic, Peter Drucker, first used the term “knowledge worker” in his book, The Landmarks of Tomorrow (1959). According to Drucker, a knowledge worker was someone who functioned at a high-level in an organization by applying formally acquired training to develop products and services needed by the company they worked for.
Knowledge Workers in 21st Century
In his most prescient moment, Drucker predicted that knowledge workers would become the most valuable assets of organizations in the 21st century for their ability to be productive as well as creative.
Knowledge Workers in the Workplace
Automation changed how knowledge-based positions evolved out of the growing need of the marketplace to improve manufacturing and agricultural efficiency. Workers, in turn, were required to acquire a growing list of skills and knowledge that could help fuel the modern-day economy.
Knowledge Worker Jobs Today
Knowledge workers today are found working various industries and professions. These include information technology, programming and coding, technical writers, researchers, systems analysts, and engineering.
Knowledge Workers in Other Roles
The terms knowledge worker is now more broadly applied to high-functioning, idea-focused people in jobs in medicine, the legal profession, design fields, accounting, financial analysts, skilled trades, and business, to name a few.
The Future of Work
Drucker understood the importance of how the future of work included an ever-increasing emphasis on occupations that required specialized training and education. Today, technology companies look for new hires who can perform knowledge-based tasks specific to the products or services they deliver. The new hires that thrive in the knowledge-based workplaces are those that are life-long learners who continually invest in acquiring new knowledge.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Technology & Business Blogger