Narsimha Rao Mannepalli

The author is the Executive Vice President, Head - Cloud Infrastructure and Security Solutions at Infosys.

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Future Of Work And Employable Skills With Robotics, AI

Relentless focus on transformation of culture, to finding unknown problems, immersive curriculums, 'learnability', agility, and the drive to adapt to the unknown - these could be the traits to shape a better world, and create great new futures

Manpower Group, a world leader in innovative workforce solutions, in conjunction with WEF, recently released a report detailing how the technological revolution is going to transform the employment market in ways like never before. Contrary to popular views, India's hiring pace is expected to be stronger than most other countries over the next three years. Employers predict job growth, with particular emphasis on knowledge workers. Rather than 'hard skills', those with "soft skills," such as adaptability, learnability and communication, will be much in demand over the next couple of years.

Now is the time to invest in reshaping skills to enhance the resilience of not just employees but organizations as well. Individuals need to nurture their learnability: their desire and ability to learn new skills to stay relevant and remain employable in the changing times. Organizations need to invest in building rapid competency development at scale.

We are at a defining moment in the history of mankind, and indeed our collective evolution. Automation has become an increasingly disruptive force in the labor market. With various conversations around the transformative forces of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, the emphasis on employable skills and future of work has become real. There have been concerns on the obsolescence of jobs. However, they only go a long way in awakening in us newer aspects that we have often overlooked, such as inquisitiveness and curiosity, paving the way for reskilling and a future of lasting and continuous learning.  

Some categories of jobs are expected to go down in the next few years and some will go up. Contrary to what more people think, jobs in computing and programming will only go up in the coming years and the real impact of Automation and consequent job reduction will be felt in Administration / back office and manufacturing functions.

We are at the cusp of a Skills Revolution, where enabling people scale up and imbibe skills that will have far reaching outcomes become central to deal with change. Such people will be able to thrive in diverse environments.

In order to stride towards a future of harnessing the power of knowledge, some fundamental aspects need to be kept in mind.  

1.    Learning is a lifelong experience: It is an imperative that everyone moves beyond the realms of the ordinary into purposeful learning. Organizations should encourage and reward such employees and foster skills necessary for tomorrow, to being the workforce of the future. Attributes such as curiosity, creativity, proactivity, thinking, etc., need to be encouraged since these are traits that automation or robots do not provide.

2.    Reskilling: Repurposing people into doing more valuable and rewarding tasks is the need of the hour. The challenge of re-invention ensures the relevance of people in tough times, to empower them to bring in innovative thinking to achieve greater business benefit. Lateral thinking is a critical lever to ensure success across levels that will allow people to augment robots, rather than be replaced by them.

3.    Real life problems: Finding and solving real world problems helps to rekindle the learning culture. 'Learning by doing' is a sure step towards mentoring and shaping leaders of tomorrow.

The Manpower - WEF report noted that there is need for an aggressive workforce to address the challenges of tomorrow. For college students who are looking for employment, it is the right time for them to adapt and create value for their employers by being critical thinkers who are able to enhance and provide better solutions in myriad forms that a robot cannot.  

The training ecosystem

It is expected that the training ecosystem will undergo evolution through various educational formats. It is an extremely interesting and challenging time for trainers. There will be an interesting mix of formal educational, online training, (some created by for-profit firms, some free), some exploit augmented and virtual reality elements and gaming sensibilities, and a lot of real-time learning that will take place in formats that job seekers pursue on their own. It is estimated that going forward, 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in completely new job types that don't yet exist today. Having said that, it is imperative that training undergoes a mindset shift, from that of a career based model to personal life skills development. That is where a significant pillar pertaining to the future of the working populace lies, in the digital world.

Relentless focus on transformation of culture, to finding unknown problems, immersive curriculums, 'learnability', agility, and the drive to adapt to the unknown - these could be the traits to shape a better world, and create great new futures.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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robotics artificial intelligence

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