FUTURE OF WORK

After the industrial revolution, the biggest transition in the history of mankind has been brought about by digital wave with quantum computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning (commonly referred to as the 4th Industrial revolution) transforming the future of work. The narrative of future of work is shifting from ‘unemployment’ to ‘different employment’, from robots taking away jobs to technology driving the creation of many more jobs than it eliminates.

The resulting changes observed in work in the last five decades are - drop in work hours, giving more leisure hours to people and creation of new jobs requiring more complex cognitive ability. In addition, it is predicted that more than 1/3rd of the working population will be engaged in jobs that haven’t been defined yet.

Also, the organisational career ladder is getting replaced by ‘gig’ economy! The phrase ‘gig’ economy which has gained popularity recently, according to a definition, "is a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs". In other words it is about work environment that offers flexibility with regard to employment hours. 'Gig’ workers are entrepreneurial independent contractors or contingent workers who work and are paid on per-project basis and are not the employees of any one organization. The digitally-enabled independent work is also on the rise. Exponents of the ‘gig’ economy and independent workers claim that people can benefit from flexible hours, with control over the amount of time they work as they attend to other priorities in their lives. Employers are preferring ‘gig’ workers over traditional workers for their agility and purposeful nature. In addition, employers only pay when the work is available, and don't incur employee costs when demand is not there.

Thus, individuals will have to become more proactive about managing their careers as digital technologies continue to reshape the world of work. They need to commit to life-long learning and re-skill sufficiently to take advantage of the new jobs that emerge.

Blog by Vandana Madhavkumar