The world is facing worldwide job apocalypse where world’s approx. 3 billion workforces is at risk of losing their source of livelihoods. For many workers, the lockdown situation has hurried the arrival of the “future of work”, a term which has risen in recent years due to advancement and challenges of technological disruption and the structural economic factors.
For many of those who are working in corporates (white-collar workers), it has meant work from home. For many service workers who are dependent on daily wages (blue-collar workers), it has become an uncertain future where AI machines may displace workers especially when companies consider increasing automation to enhance their capabilities. Those are in hospitality, health care sector and education sector; it has led to late or behind the time due to significance and essential nature of these professions.
There is no doubt that Immediate and urgent action is required to protect jobs. It is important to maintain links between employers and employees, and keep large and small employers afloat, and provide income support and other financial securities directly to workers and households. Developed economies and emerging markets are focusing in this direction and taking steps although developing countries are needed support and direction. This is what we must consider at this moment and make it as an opportunity to build a better and resilient labor market. There are five ways to do this:
- Up skilling and Reskilling
The fourth industrial revolution is here and to cope up with it, companies, industries and governments have already initiated to prioritize reskilling and up skilling. While this is a minuscule invader rather than the beginning of advance robots which can lead to the collapse of labor market yet it is obvious that post pandemic effects will speed up the digitization and automation across a many big industries and sectors. The up skilling and reskilling require new investments and mechanisms to enhance human skills as well as digital skills. Now governments are building provisions regarding up skilling and reskilling as a main stream approach so the workers could be prepare for the post-pandemic economy.
- Categorize the Jobs of Tomorrow
In the beginning of 2020, the World Economic Forum offered a vision for the Jobs of Tomorrow. These roles are completely concentrated to those professions that support the planet, manage new technologies, care for people and communicate products and services: Green Economy, Care Economy, People and Culture; Data and AI, Product Development; Sales, Engineering and Cloud Computing, Marketing and Content.
As the pandemic shows the importance of workers in hospitals, schools, grocery stores and other professions play, the opportunities within the health and care economy are expected to increase. Similarly, roles within e-commerce and management, technology creation and the broader knowledge economy are estimated to continue to grow. And as governments seek to restructure their economies, new sources of jobs and services will also emerge from the green economy, digital infrastructure, and science and health research. For developing countries economy, a new approach to the jobs of tomorrow is even more censorious as the global value chains of the past are reconsidered and with that the manufacturing-driven growth model of the past.
- Prioritize Re-deployment and Re-employment
It is critical for governments and organizations to provide active support to both unemployed workers and who are at-risk to losing their job. Many companies have already started to provide support in the short-term to redeploy furloughed workers from low to high-demand roles. In countries where governments have systems for doing this in a proactive manner, workers are by this time faring better than in those that don’t. However, before redeployment and reemployment, governments must also prioritize labor market services as they consider next set of fiscal stimuli. It is including providing job market insights (match-making services), job-search assistance and job market intermediation.
While ago, policies were like this used to manage the constant increase in unemployment. As per the widespread nature of the today’s crisis, it is not very clear that such services are expanded and ready or will be ready to manage recovery period after the pandemic.
- Improve the Quality of Jobs and Asses Essential Work
It has become clear that the most essential workers are lowest-paid and most precarious roles and that in many developing countries where in particular basic social protection is missing for the formal and informal workforce. The formalization of the weekend and other labours’ rights had come to existence after the Great Depression and the Second World War. Same goes for the income safety nets and creation of health and widespread education investments across the Europe. Yet, as the nature of the world economies has changed, standards, laws, and wages have not kept pace according to the needs of workers – and, in several cases, their employers. In similar to managing the gravity of the crisis it is essential that governments, businesses and workers’ leaders work together to lead a new era of shift in upgrading the practices that govern the labor markets.
- Collaborate with Three ‘R’; Recover, Reset and Rebuild
Collaboration between countries, organizations, employers, and workers will be critical to the recovery. In January 2020, the World Economic Forum announced for the creation of a Reskilling Revolution platform which is devoted to improving skills, education, and jobs for billion people by 2030. The forum has now dedicated a platform to supporting different companies, governments, and educators to help students and workers through the crisis. And it also aims to exchange best practices and building back better education, jobs and skills systems for the post-pandemic recovery.
The pandemic crisis has highlighted insufficiencies and inequalities of the system. Yet it has also refocused the attention of global leaders on the value of human life, human livelihoods and human potential. This crisis is an opportunity to look after the most precious asset: human capital.