Work and workplaces will never bhe the same again. We knew it was coming, but nothing could have prepared us for its acceleration. We thought it would take us another five years to start seeing real changes, but alas!

I feel the Future of Work is angry. Like a lioness sleeping, I feel her tail has been stepped on and she’s been woken up earlier than planned.

With hundreds of millions of job losses around the world, even more important than the future of work is the future of jobs.

With the augmentation of man with machine, the kind of work required of humans will undoubtedly change.

Jobs will require new knowledge, skills and abilities to match the new demands. Jobs will become Super Jobs, with clearer objectives and performance expectations.  

The future of jobs will tilt heavily towards skills, organizations will value skills more than ever.

The biggest concern for employers will be talent, specifically, the need  to acquire skilled workers equipped with the competencies to deliver on the new roles.

With studies in Europe, showing about half of its citizens lacking basic digital skills and approximately 40 per cent of employers unable to fill their job vacancies due to lack of necessary skills, I can only imagine the Nigerian statistics.

Routine jobs requiring lower skilled workers will be eliminated by the wider adoption of technology tools. Many white collar Jobs will become super jobs with an expanded portfolio of requiring more complex skills like creativity, prescriptive analytics and decision making. The ability to focus on more sophisticated work will be valued more.

With the widespread  adoption of working from home, there will be no real reason why workers will have to be sourced locally, thus employers of labour will source from a global rather than local pool. Many service based firms will take advantage of this reality and augment their skills shortage with contingent staff outside the country, especially for skills sets that are in short supply.

Work contracts will be redefined.  Firms will opt to grow more slowly with respect to staffing, not just small firms but large firms too.

As organizations come out leaner and meaner, they will seek more flexible work arrangements. They will be more open to and in some cases prefer to outsource, pay for services or work with temporary project teams.

Permanent employment as we know it will shrink.  Many workers will appreciate the flexibility and this will have a positive effect on inclusion, allowing more underrepresented groups like stay-at-home-mums and people living with disabilities, join the labour market. On the flip side workers will be responsible for their own long term financial security as pension and similar long term  compensation plans will no longer be the responsibility of the organisations they work for.

Workers that were once binded by the contracts of one employer will be free to work for multiple employers with stricter service level agreements detailing performance standards expected. As a result, the demand for professionalism will increase.

A lot of jobs will be done in solitude and rely on the ability of workers to manage themselves.

Workers will be responsible for their own tools and developing the right skills set. Workers who are able to fulfil these new work requirements will be in higher demand than those who don’t.

Though factories will remain, the organisations with service based workers will decrease their need for real estate as most work will be done remotely while regular meet ups or team events will be held virtually or in shared office spaces. The old work place social setting will be a thing of the past. This is the near future that I see.

All in all, the future of work is exciting, for those who are skilled and are prepared to embrace the changes ahead.

What do you see as the pros and cons?

©Adora Ikwuemesi