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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Keeping Pace with the Future of Work

The socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled many to prepare themselves for the future of work, in which globalisation, digitalisation and several other major trends are transforming the workplace.

The workplace of the future will be driven by automation and other new technologies, leading to the creation of new jobs, transformation of existing occupations, and greater demand for new skills.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), almost 14 percent of jobs in OECD countries are at risk of being automated, while another 32 percent might be partially automated, affecting youths, low-skilled workers and even high-skilled professionals.

Thus, it is essential to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills now to be able to work in an environment that encourages innovation and collaboration among diverse talents in the physical and virtual space.

A good starting point is to explore new technology or acquire and develop digital literacy and transferable skills as early as possible. This can be a stepping stone towards inculcating lifelong learning.

Then, learn to interact and understand different kinds of people offline and online. As suggested by the UK government in its report The Future of Work: Jobs and Skills in 2030, the workforce of the future will be “multi-generational, older and more international, with women playing a strong role.”

It is also advantageous to be familiar with facts concerning the future of work. One of the most common myth is that automation “will take jobs away”, when automation actually replaces tasks rather than overall jobs and even improves work performance and productivity.

Another way to be prepared for the future of work is to rethink what defines a “career”.

This is because a worker might end up performing various types of work in the future due to rapid technological change affecting industries that leads to the emergence of new occupations and a shift in the nature of existing jobs.

This means current and future professionals must have more than one area of interest in order to have the adaptability required to work in different fields, which also broadens career options and boosts job employability.

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