KAMPALA – “The world is becoming a faster changing and more turbulent place for organizations and the necessity to adapt has never been greater” Jacob Morgan
It is being reported that the Corona virus is the biggest disruptor the world has ever seen for years.
Neither the world war nor the great depression, the earthquakes and all those physical disruptions that the world has experienced have been greater. This pandemic has affected factually everybody in one way or the other.
Young and unborn children, the elderly, the youths among others. The Corona virus has killed over 4 million people as of to date. It has also affected millions worldwide. This disruption has even gone to the workforce. To be able to live, people must work, and work presents itself in different ways.
Either as an entrepreneur who starts his or her work or as a paid employee. The work results into the production and delivery of goods and services which are demanded by the world. The world will continue to demand food and therefore the food industry will remain.
However, how food is produced and delivered to the final consumer will continue changing. The world will continue to demand information and products that will enable people to live well. These are certain. It has changed work patterns forever. It has created remote working with its challenges, removed skills and replaced them.
While the Coronavirus has created this big disruption, it has equally created an awareness about the emerging technologies that have been affecting the world.
The biggest employers in the world today are retail companies selling goods and the technology companies.
Manufacturing companies are not of the radar of big companies and big employers anymore. Therefore, it is important that we appreciate the future of work and related careers.
Of course, Africa in general and Uganda in particular not everybody can work from home because of the limitations of availability not only the equipment, computers and other gadgets but also the networks and affordability of data. As we look at the emerging workspace that we will be interacting with, it must be also seen from the perspective of developed and developing countries.
Working from home has its benefits but also presents lots of challenges. We have seen videos of people walking away from meetings, exposing their nakedness. There are various videos that have come up. Children are also adding challenges to the people who are meeting or being able to undertake a task. These and many more are some of the challenges working from home presents. Will it succeed?
I think most experiences show that it is succeeding to a great extent in the developed countries where the family sizes are small and where they have the facilities; the phones, computers and where internet connectivity is available. In some cases, organizations give data to their employees to enable them work at home. What are the jobs and related careers that are likely to be eaten up?
With the emerging technology and automation, we are experiencing today, the creation of robots, drones playing an important role in the production process In the manufacturing and agriculture sectors, we see robots and drones in the production process and the number of employees have reduced tremendously. However, as robots come in, they create new jobs and new career opportunities.
Jobs which require people to make the robots and to maintain the robots.
We are going to experience job and career shifts. The World Economic Forum estimates the automation rate by 2025 will be 53% human and 47 % machine. There will be less emphasis on physical work. There are various industries that have been disrupted and may take a long time to recover for instance, travel, tour, hotel, restaurants all these have been disrupted.
These businesses will have a major problem recovering. Work in those areas may never recover fully. Therefore, people in those careers must find something different to pursue.
The future of work will depend on the available technologies and therefore it is important to study the available technologies to enable us to adapt them. In the education sector, e learning has taken over.
Of course, as indicated, in the poor countries where there are no facilities, there is a challenge, many children have not studied for more than a year in our villages, and they have taken to doing all business. We are seeing an increasing number of early marriages, unplanned pregnancies because of the disruptions that have happened. Some teachers have abandoned their careers and have started businesses, farming and this is where they see the future. Some teachers may never go back to teach if what they earn from farming and other businesses is much more than what they got while teaching. There is going to be a threat on majority of careers.
As we plan, we must think a lot, where are those jobs that we have been seeing all along, are we studying the right things, will the education system deliver to us the right jobs we need to do. The education system needs to rethink on the type of education they are offering to the young people. The companies that are leading in technology are the ones that are setting the trend on what type of employee we need in the world. The world may never be the same again in many years. We either evolve or we dissolve. We have a choice.
Author; Maureen Tweyongyere, Director, MUBS Career & Skills Development Centre and Member, National Task force on Labor Productivity