Over the last 18 months I have heard many stories about how people have handled working during the pandemic. From having to set my parents up to allow my mum to work from home (thankfully Dad retired!) to hearing others having to learn new skills to allow them to do the work they are required to do. We fast forward 18 months and many of us have learnt new skills that we never needed before but became essential to us. People are feeling excited and confident about the future but many people worry about the challenges that automation could bring to their role. Will the role still be the same? Will it still exist?
In a recent PwC publication there were some common themes coming out. People were concerned about job security.
- 60% are worried that automation is putting many jobs at risk.
- 48% believe traditional employment won’t be around in the future, and that we’ll sell our skills on a short-term basis to those who need them.
- 56% think few people will have stable, long-term employment in the future; this jumps to 81% in India.
- 61% feel that their government should act to protect jobs, with that feeling being more acute among 18-34 year-olds (66%) than those over 55 (51%).
- 39% think it’s likely that their job will be obsolete within five years.
So there is a lot of uncertainty going on in people’s minds – and rightly so. The last 18 months has disrupted a number of industries. If we look further back then the disruption has been going on for a much longer period. For many industries there are disruptions much wider than the pandemic. Technological advances are the most common one. With the acceleration of plans a key for the future is individuals acquiring new skills.
Over the course of the pandemic a fair few people have improved their digital skills but there is still work to be done. Individuals want to be more digital savvy. The younger generation have grown up in a digital world but that doesn’t discount them from wanting to improve. So the test now is for employers to provide opportunities, internally or via external sources, to enable employees to upskill. These opportunities need to be provided fairly – without this the gap will increase for social inequality.
In the race for talent, across all ages, there is a need to provide what people need and upskilling and regular in-house training is essential. Most companies are planning to maintain at least some virtual work or flextime so keeping people up to speed with the latest technological developments.