What you need to know about the future workforce

What you need to know about the future workforce

The world of work is changing fast. In fact, it already has. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, the proliferation of AI, robotics and automation in the workplace are forcing organisations to seriously rethink and re-engineer jobs  – or more specifically – skills.

League attended the Future of Work Seminar 2019 where technology thought leaders, human capital managers and talent acquisition professionals shed light on the future workforce and the challenges facing businesses and employees.

We are  thrilled to share with you the top trends that came out of the conference.

Accelerate your learning 

With skills requirements changing so rapidly, today’s workforce will have to undergo continuous learning to remain relevant. According to Linda van der Loo from Blue Pebble Consulting, by 2022 you’ll need 101 days of upskilling a year to remain employable. Unfortunately, businesses are currently spending 80% of their budgets on expiring skills and not on emerging, future-critical skills, she adds.

Of greater concern is that no universities in South Africa are offering courses on big data. Unisa professor in AI and data science, Bhekisipho Twala, says that preparing for Industry 4.0 and filling the subsequent skills gap should start at a grassroots level. Unfortunately, we are not setting up the future workforce for success, he adds.

It’s about soft skills

It’s a frightening prediction that up to 800 million workers worldwide will be replaced by robots and AI by 2030. But the robots are a good thing, says the founder at Tellos, Jared Molko. Not all humans will be replaced by automated systems. In fact, he believes that the most onerous and monotonous parts of jobs, and not entire jobs, will be automated. This frees up employees to fulfil other critical functions in the business and speed up time-to-value.

Contrary to what we might believe, only 8%-10% of jobs are in programming and technology building. And while these technical skills will remain in demand, human skills are going to become more important, especially our understanding of decision-making. Jobs of the future will be more about relating to people as human beings, something AI and automation are not in a position to accomplish in the immediate future.

The gig economy 

To remain competitive in the modern market is all about shortening time-to-value. And choosing the right people at the right time is crucial in achieving this, says managing executive at talentCRU, Lerato Semenya.

The contingent workforce – permanent, freelance and contract workers – is becoming the norm, but presents a double-edged sword. Semenya says that companies are not outsourcing areas of their business that are less critical, they are outsourcing because they want the best talent for the job. But it is managing the gig economy that presents obstacles for human capital and learning and development.

There also needs to be a mind shift in how employers approach and manage the incoming Gen Z workforce. Cohesion Collective director Dominic Gaobepe says that getting through to the centennials is about valuing capabilities, asking rather than telling and equal rather than special treatment.

Closing the gap 

The future workforce is inevitable, and in most part, already here. But talk is cheap, says Barry Vorster, director of People and Organisation at PwC. Formal changes to the education system can take up to three years so the onus is on businesses to take charge and drive the upskilling of the current workforce and start preparing future employees.

At League, we are in the business of creating purpose-driven digital solutions to help you tackle obstacles standing in the way of connecting with the future workforce. Get in touch with us to discuss how we can enhance your employee engagement.

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