New roles, more gigs: Work Life will see a BIG change

The devastation caused by the coronavirus across economies has also triggered massive job losses. Vital sectors, such as retail, hospitality, tourism, food, media, and entertainment, have been hit hard. The massive disruption has raised doubts about the viability of certain jobs in the post-COVID world.

Experts say many traditional jobs may cease to exist in the new normal. New professions and new forms of jobs will emerge while we witness a massive transformation in the employer-employee relationship. Working from home during the lockdown has dramatically changed the way organizations function, and this trend will most likely gather momentum once the virus has been neutralized.

Even before the pandemic struck, profound changes were taking place across sectors, triggering the need for new jobs and ways to deal with the emerging future. The key question that haunted policymakers prior to the pandemic was, how to accommodate 17 million new entrants in the workforce? Experts now say the job scene in India will witness a more dramatic shift.

“I don’t see jobs becoming redundant purely on account of Covid-19. However, we would see fewer jobs in certain roles. The job profile will also change in certain roles. In India, logistics, customer service, and sales shall continue to be the top three job roles by volume even five years from now,” said Rituporna Chakraborty, co-founder and executive vice president at staffing firm Teamlease.

“We shall also see increased demand for digital skill sets in both existing and new job the world becomes more digitally literate, and requires more automated, touchless, presence-less, paperless and secure solutions,” said Chakraborty, adding that the demands will change rapidly: “whether it is real estate, wages or workforce, temporary shall become the new permanent.”

The country’s manufacturing sector was already adopting automation on the shop floor and this process will gather momentum post-COVID-19. A report by industry lobby group Ficci says new skills will be required to navigate the jobs landscape, and 3D printing, artificial intelligence-driven machines, and machine learning will also be in demand. “In fact, artificial intelligence (AI) will be integral to the future of work. These changes in the sector would require a comprehensive effort to re-skill and upskill the existing workforce as well as the new recruits,” the report said.

The new normal would also require a massive reorientation in school and college curricula. The Ficci report says coding, creative digital programming (creating videos, digital content), data analytics and cybersecurity courses need to be introduced in schools. It also calls for creating a workforce that is able to navigate the digital world.

“More data scientists/analysts would be required, hence a pool of data scientists/data analysts needs to be trained. An increase in data sharing on digital platforms will raise the need for securing cyberspace and therefore (the) need for trained cybersecurity specialists,” the reported said. More strategic supply chain managers would also be needed to ensure there is no disruption of the global supply chain.

Experts say the relationship between employer and employee is also likely to undergo some changes. “Employers will be more accepting of freelance workers and will actually prefer more gig/freelance workers for some parts of the workforce. Public policy will also start changing to adapt to this kind of working arrangement. In the last decade or so, employees have preferred to look at freelancing arrangements while employers have held out against it. Now, with an increasing need for a variable cost model, employers will be more accepting,” said Anandorup Ghose, partner at consulting firm Deloitte India.

“The compensation equation will potentially shift to a structure where employees will value ‘security’ benefits – insurance, job security, health cover, etc.” In periods of high growth, employees expect higher cash, while in periods of slowdown and uncertainty, they migrate towards protection, said Ghose.

According to a Deloitte report, a few organizations are beginning to evaluate the benefits of an alternative workforce model. “For instance, a global business process management company sees employing an alternative workforce for their blue-collar segment as an opportunity to recover and thrive post the immediate crisis. The company is also contemplating venturing into a shared employment workforce model with other firms,” it said.

Policymakers in the country are meanwhile exploring the need to accelerate the “walk to work” concept that means jobs are available within a worker’s easy reach. The massive migration of workers in the aftermath of the strict national lockdown is prompting the authorities to ensure the development of industrial clusters in tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and mapping of available skills in those areas.

Source: The Times of India


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