Expert’s Viewpoint – The Future of Work

The future of work is already upon us and it is clearly defined by technology. By the year 2025, which is just about 8 years from now, a lot of jobs will be taken over by technology, the rapid transformation of the world in the last fifty years is six times more than that experienced in the thousands of years before.

This means that there are bound to be job losses. However, the good news is that there will be so much more jobs… for those who are prepared for them. The future belongs to those who can explore and maximize modern technologies to their advantage. 

We are in the fourth industrial revolution, also known as the digital revolution, there have been three previous ones:

  1. The mechanized or agricultural revolution
  2. The electrical or mass production revolution
  3. The internet or jet age revolution

The digital revolution is characterized and dominated by robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), etc. These technologies are already prepared to take away jobs and replace them.

For instance, robotics takes care of admin/paperwork, clearing, investment/financial analysis, etc., artificial intelligence (AI) takes care of voice recognition, cyber security, biometrics, etc., and machine learning efficiently handles data science, predictive analysis, etc. In fact, Larry Page, cofounder of Google, has said that AI is the future of Google search engine, implying that it will be taken over by AI.

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Some of these technologies are in effect with the existence of the drive through mall in Saudi Arabia, the Uber Air Taxi, Pepper in Stanbic IBTC banks, Alexa on Amazon with 3,500 skills & counting, driverless taxi, robot waiters, IBTC Sami on Facebook that helps with account opening, and lots more. 

Globalization will be diverse and interesting because it will bring with it a rise in freelancing, outsourcing, e-commerce, and teleconferencing (Skype, VR, etc.). We will also experience an increase and change in demography– the world’s population is expected to hit 9 billion by 2050. Research has shown that those born between the 40s and 60s, known as baby boomers, do not have the immunity and life expectancy of those born in the early 80s and late 90s, the millennials.

While life stops or slopes downward for the baby boomer generation who retire at 60, life begins for the millennials as their life expectancy is placed at 100. This would be so because the world is working towards low carbon emissions as well as a green economy. Apart from this, millennials have the capacity to redefine living, in such a way that they are not restricted to the four walls of an office.

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It is very important for young people to possess skills and experience for the future and not the past. Jobs are becoming more automated, and entry level jobs are disappearing. Ironically, students are still being trained in courses that will be radically changed by automation by 2025. By then, research predicts that people will prefer to work from home to avoid emotional and physical stress. This means that there will be a flexible work schedule for many employees, as well as several freelancers who have the required skills and experience.

32% of current jobs globally will be extinct by 2020 as a result of innovations, disruptions and productivity. Young people must be multi-skilled and ambidextrous. You might say, “Oh, I’m a medical doctor” or “Oh, I’m a lawyer”, and my response to you is “what else can you do?” You must have nothing less than 10 skills and constantly evaluate yourself, because enterprise skills are the work of the future.

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Where are jobs going to be? This should inform course choices in higher institutions. Graduates can further their learning online, on-site, and hone their skills.

Jobs are going to be in the following sectors and order:

  1. Media, Entertainment and Information
  2. Consumer/public relations  
  3. Healthcare
  4. Energy
  5. Professional Services
  6. Information Communication Technology (ICT)
  7. Transportation 
  8. Basic and Infrastructure
  9. Financial Services and Investment.

It would be a form of self-injustice to study psychology, philosophy, history, banking and finance, business administration, etc. Why? Because the market is already saturated with graduates of these courses. 

By the year 2025, creative skills would be 260% in demand, presentation skills would be 110%, and digital literacy skills would be 680%. Therefore, you need to learn new things. Learn second languages like French, Spanish, German, Mandarin, etc. Acquire skills that will keep people knocking on your door. 

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