KAMPALA – Workplaces always evolve and change in order to maintain a competitive advantage, remain relevant in their respective sectors and tap into different opportunities. The recent Covid 19 situation has escalated these changes in a very short period of time and companies have managed to adjust in order to stay afloat.
Technology takes the lead in driving change in most organisations.
Technology is a process, system or method that arises due to application of scientific knowledge. It changes and improves with time as seen with each industrial revolution. The current and fourth revolution has introduced artificial intelligence and made information exchange between the human race and machines possible.
In 2016, Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong company, unveiled Sophia, a humanoid robotic who is capable of recognizing faces with more intelligence and efficiency.
While technology has increased efficiency and effectiveness, the constant change keeps the future of work in a state of uncertainty.
According to the World Economics Report 2020, 1 in 5 jobs will be replaced with artificial intelligence, and 42% of the skillset required to perform a task today will not be needed in two years. This leads you to question whether your dream job will be relevant in 5-10 years. What skillset will be required in 5-10 years? The changes in technology renders highly demanded and popular skills of ten years ago obsolete and undesirable.
The internet, as a significant factor in technology, has bridged the information gap and left certain traditional jobs like travel agencies out of the market.
Anyone looking to travel can book a ticket, lodging and airport pickup online at a cheaper cost. The rise of social media tools has also led to the slow death of print newspapers and increased consumption of digital newspapers.
The local video store that dominated 15 years ago, has collapsed with the rise of Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, among others.
The same fate has befallen the highly demanded computer typing skills, letter writing, cheques and operating machines of the last twenty years.
Several businesses have realized that they do not need a salesperson, a cashier, or physical location. They can operate and transact businesses online.
In the future, greater emphasis will be placed on interpersonal skills like strong leadership, high levels of creativity and innovation. The ability to effectively communicate within and outside the organization is another vital skill to look out for. We shall experience a high demand for remote working and phasing out of the routine 8am-5pm office hours.
The World Economic Report 2020 mentions several jobs with a high market demand in this era that people can tap into; Data Analysts and Scientists, AI and Machine Learning Specialists, Big Data Specialists, Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists, Information Security Analysts, Software and Applications Developers, Internet of Things Specialists, Project Managers, Business Services and Administration Managers among others. It also points out jobs like Data Entry Clerks, Administrative and Executive Secretaries, Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks, Accountants and Auditors, Assembly and Factory Workers that are fading out.
As we plan for survival, it is important to appreciate that the workplace we know today is changing. We are headed for significant disruptions at the workplace, and COVID-19 has jumpstarted the process. Like Prof. Waswa Balunywa usually says, nothing freezes in place.
The writer, Shakilah Nagujja is the Manager of the MUBS eLearning Centre, a lecturer, and a PhD student at Nelson Mandela University.