On the future of work and why awareness matters

Unfortunately, not everyone is as proactive in trying to understand the growing plight that the world's labour force faces
On the future of work and why awareness matters
By Shayan Shakeel
Sat 19 Jan 2019 03:00 PM

Over the last months We’ve been privy to a number of conversations about the coming age of industry and how talent, employment, and jobs will all evolve. Its certainly a cause for concern. From what we’ve gleaned there will almost certainly be a large number of jobs that will be retired, and that’s not a comforting fact; not just because nearly every role is at risk.

Experts and business leaders all agree that a widescale push to train and re-train needs to take place. Some of the most forward thinking companies have already embarked on that journey. Siemens for instance not only plans to hire more resources over the next few years, but in my interview with Joe CEO Kaser earlier in the year, he said that the company spends a considerable amount of revenue in making sure it’s existing talent pool does not get made redundant.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as proactive in understanding the growing plight that the world’s labour force faces. And it is a plight: My job as a journalist covering business is to talk to people, and that includes not just the c-suite, but also those that are just entering the workforce, middle-managers, and professionals. And despite how confident surveys would reveal the c-suite is in its plan to tackle industry 4.0, nearly every person I have spoken with so far that is not a decision-maker, has confessed that they are isn’t as confident in their own future.

Of course, part of the cause might lie in the general sentiment of people in the world about its economic future. It would be fair to say that confidence levels in whether we will be able to escape an economic downturn within the next three years, if not low, has certainly receded. And going by past experience, the 2008 financial crisis set a whole generation back in terms of disposable income.

Some of those I speak to, yet to enter management, are trying to take charge by learning a new language, taking online courses, or learning skills that will help them progress in their careers. But the majority, while concerned, are still not being proactive enough in the case of their careers and future income. Add that to the fact that a majority (I would wager) of youth don’t plan for their financial future, and we could be facing a rather large crisis soon.

What is needed I would say, is awareness, and a lot of it. The matter is being covered in the press, and governments are trying to divert budgets toward education, but more than anything it’s companies that need to inform their employees that they need to take charge of their future. After all, we spend close to half our days at work; and it’s only fair for the current stewards of the labour force to alert it about what lays ahead.

Shayan Shakeel is editor, CEO Middle East at the Arabian Business Group

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