By Pradeep S. Mehta and Palashka
The world of work is evolving at an unprecedented pace, driven by rapid advancements in technology, globalisation, and shifting societal needs. Three recent trends in the G20 countries that are going to alter the nature of work in the future are globalisation, technological progress and demographic change.
India has a large youth population, one of the highest in the world. We need to find gainful employment for them, which requires developing new skills as job profiles are also changing rapidly. These skills are dynamic in nature, so how are we going to cope with the development? If the youth is not well prepared for the changing scenario of the skills required for future jobs, there is a danger of them becoming a social liability. No one wants such a situation so what should be done.
The world of work is evolving at an unprecedented pace, driven by rapid advancements in technology, globalisation, and shifting societal needs. Three recent trends in the G20 countries that are going to alter the nature of work in the future are globalisation, technological progress and demographic change. These are going to affect the quality and quantity of jobs that are available.
The future of jobs will be driven by these trends as new technologies and new markets will generate more productive jobs. In 2030, it is going to be demanding. Furthermore, the influence of Artificial Intelligence and automation will be very significant. Therefore, our young generation must be prepared by imbibing these skills. Skilling and reskilling the present workforce and young people are the need of the hour, as new technological progress and new markets are emerging all around the world. What we are experiencing with the advent of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, smart machines, virtual reality and blockchain, are already affecting our everyday lives.
In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which we are witnessing in our everyday lives, the lifeworld as defined by Habermas, is an advanced capitalist society. It is divided between a lifeworld, which is controlled by the norms of communicative interaction, and a system which is governed by “Steering imperatives” such as money, power and technology. If systematic forces are not controlled then they dominate the life world.
Our lifeworld is getting overpowered by the technological world. It is also creating a mismatch between available workers and the skills necessary for the future of jobs. It’s important to shape a future that works for all and puts people first by empowering them with new skills and technologies as they are tools made for the people and by the people. Skilling the workforce is important not only because it will be beneficial for the future of work but it will also give workers the power to negotiate for better wages and working conditions.
The World Economic Forum’s report on the Future of Jobs 2023 analyses the impact of macro trends and the effect of technological change on jobs and skills for the next five years. The report states that twenty-three per cent of jobs will change globally in the next five years and that sixty-nine million new jobs are expected to be created across forty-five economies, covering 673 million workers.
In a webinar organised by CUTS on the Future of Work under a project supported by Ford Foundation, it was noted that we are also moving into a period where the urgency of creating jobs is very huge. Furthermore, we need to create an enabling environment for women workers, as women’s participation in the labour force is very low and there are not many incentives for them to be part of the work force. The skilling and reskilling structure require gender-specific strategies to enhance female labour workforce participation, also courses around skill enhancement should be designed on skill-based assessment.
As the manufacturing sector and MSMEs are the largest contributors to job creation, the government should focus on creating good and better jobs in these sectors. It was stressed that the Skills Ministry should collaborate with the MSME Ministry to accelerate skilling in the manufacturing sector.
Technological advancement in society has led to disruptions but it has also created new jobs and new business processes which are dependent on technology. The gig economy is dependent on the exchange of labour or services for money through digital platforms. It is characterised by short-term contracts and freelance work and has gained significant traction in recent years. The global pandemic has created a demand for talent which is technologically empowered and this has also led to a rise in the number of gig workers irrespective of its challenges such as proper wages, better working conditions, and job security.
Looking at the opportunities and challenges associated with this emerging work model, the future of work demands a balance between the advantages of the gig economy and the need to ensure social protection for workers. Policies and regulations must be adapted to provide a safety net and address the unique dynamics of this evolving landscape.
The importance of lifelong learning and skills development was emphasised as jobs evolve and new ones emerge. Continuous upskilling and reskilling will be crucial for individuals to remain competitive and adaptable in the workforce. Governments, educational institutions, and businesses need to collaborate to provide accessible and affordable learning opportunities. By investing in education and skill-building initiatives, individuals can be equipped with the tools to thrive in a rapidly changing work environment. The future of work demands a balance between the advantages of the gig economy and the need to ensure social protection for workers. Policies and regulations must be adapted to provide a safety net and address the unique dynamics of this evolving landscape.
The authors work for CUTS International, a global public policy research and advocacy group.
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