by Dinesh Sekar, Management Consultant at Pink Elephant
What the future of work might hold is a concern that resonates and that has powered extensive discussion and debate among business leaders, individual workers and policy-makers (The Future of Work: Regional Perspectives, 2018)
Over the past years, researchers, strategy consultants, business leaders, human-resource professionals and policy-makers have debated what the future of work might look like, how it can be effectively and productively shaped for the benefit of the country and businesses, and the implications of changes to work for individuals, for their livelihoods, and for the youngest generations studying to enter the future workforce. (Balliester, and Elsheikhi, The Future of Work: A Literature Review, 2018)
Common to these recent discussions is an awareness that, as technological innovations and breakthroughs rapidly shift the boundary between the work executed by humans and those performed by machines and algorithms, global labor marketplaces are likely to undergo major transformations. (World Economic Forums: Future of Jobs, 2018)
These transformations are often times unavoidable. The success of the country and organisation is to embrace these transformations and non-embracement would lead to their downfall. If managed wisely, the transformation could lead to a new age of workforce, jobs and improved quality.
Technology Drivers towards 2020
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) reduce transaction costs and speed up information and exchange of ideas, improving efficiency and sparking innovation. As ICTs are general purpose technologies which are increasingly embedding in the structure of every country’s economy, ICT are becoming as necessary as power and transport infrastructure for all economies. (World Economic Forums: The Global Competitiveness Report 2018)
Four specific technological advances as below are set to dominate towards 2020 as drivers positively affecting business growth.
- Ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet
- Artificial intelligence / Machine Learning / Augmented and Virtual Reality
- Widespread adoption of big data analytics
- Cloud technology with use of distributed computing and storage
World Economic Forum reported that, nearly 50% of companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce by 2022, based on the job profiles of their employee base today. However, 38% of businesses surveyed expect to extend their workforce to new productivity-enhancing roles. By 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling.
Among the range of roles that are set to experience increasing demand in the period up to 2020 accelerating demand for a variety of wholly new specialist roles related to understanding and leveraging the latest emerging technologies: AI and Machine Learning Specialists, Big Data Specialists, Process Automation Experts, Information Security Analysts, User Experience and Human-Machine Interaction Designers, Robotics Engineers and Blockchain Specialists.
For countries such as, Singapore and Malaysia the primary factors determining job location decisions in the field of Information and Communication Technology is the lack of talent availability.
Employers indicate that they are set to prioritize and focus their re- and upskilling efforts on employees currently performing high-value roles as a way of strengthening their enterprise’s strategic capacity. In addition, 41% of employers are set to focus their reskilling provision on high-performing employees.
Two investment decisions, in particular, will be crucial to shaping the future of jobs: the question of whether to prioritize automation or augmentation and the question of whether or not to invest in workforce reskilling.
New technologies can drive business growth, job creation and demand for specialist skills but they can also displace entire roles when certain tasks become obsolete or automated. Skills gaps—both among workers and among the leadership of organizations—can speed up the trends towards automation in some cases but can also pose barriers to the adoption of new technologies and therefore impede business growth.
At Pink Elephant, we help organization with their service automation strategy, consulting models that assist organizations – large or small – in creating and implementing service automation solutions and services. With more than 40 years of industry knowledge and expertise, as a training and consulting organization we also assist in re- and upskilling the enterprise workforce.