Purpose: The purpose of this paper is twofold: to raise and address an important change for the human capital in the future of Industry 4.0, and to propose a human-focused perspective for companies underneath the new Industrial Revolution. Design/methodology/approach: The research study follows a state-of-the-art literature review process. The nature of the selected approach enables to cover the extensive aim of the paper with sufficient scientific solidity that should support the understanding of every topic. Findings: This work has presented three relevant aspects for Industry 4.0 and its human labour force: a workforce architecture with new interactions, a term to embrace the human capital of the future and a typology for referencing the required competences for Industry 4.0. Research limitations/implications: The paper sheds light on an important aspect for the emerging Industrial Revolution, the human force. The result and conclusion sections suggest future implications for academia and the private sector, due to changes at the conceptual and practical levels of human operation in the industry – for example, new structural interactions among employees, additional qualities to human capital and different ways to identify the competences for the workforce. Originality/value: This is an interdisciplinary study that tries to bring together a modern industrial term, a social focus and a company scenario. From this, it was possible to obtain a new social term, a novel typology of competences and a new company-scenario interaction. © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited.