The changing expectations of talent in 2019
In 2019: What employees want, HRM Magazine Asia discussed the changing concerns and expectations of employees. In part two below, we continue that discussion.
Support for upskilling and reskilling
Learning and development is just one aspect of the employee experience, but it has a particularly central role in this age of disruption.
The need for digital upskilling is nothing new, but towards the end of 2018, the predictions and forecasts turned increasingly nihilistic.
For instance, a study conducted by Cisco and Oxford Economics showed that about 6.6 million jobs in Southeast Asia were likely to become redundant over the next 10 years, due to the rise of new, disruptive technologies.
The hardest hit? Jobs with routine tasks – the things that are most easily automated – such as machine operators, cashiers, waiters, and drivers.
|“A study conducted by Cisco and Oxford Economics showed that about 6.6 million jobs in Southeast Asia were likely to become redundant over the next 10 years, due to the rise of new, disruptive technologies.
Another joint report between the China Development Research Foundation and Sequoia China has found that artificial intelligence (AI) is likely to replace about 70% of occupations in China in the future.
Almost all workers in agriculture, fisheries and forestry (99%), construction (98%), power systems installation and maintenance (94%), will be replaced by AI in 20 years.
There is a silver lining – these statistics don’t account for the new jobs and industries that will arise in Industry 4.0 and beyond.
In Southeast Asia alone, for instance, the Internet economy is projected to create 1.7 million full-time jobs by 2025, according to a report from Google and Temasek.
Much of these are expected to be in e-commerce logistics, ride-hailing, and food delivery services.
But companies can’t afford to assume that they can leave the digital upskilling efforts to governments and individuals.
Employees, certainly, will be looking to their employers to empower them with the resources to ensure they have the competencies and knowledge to keep up with the new world of work.
Indeed, the biggest technology firms in the region and the world are actively focusing on digitalisation from a talent management standpoint.
As part of the World Economic Forum’s “ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020” initiative, Google, Microsoft, Cisco, Grab, and Lazada, have vowed to develop and improve the digital skills of the workforce in Southeast Asia.
The initiative aims to improve the technological capacity of 20 million workers in Southeast Asia and equip them with digital skills and opportunities over the next two years – helping to ensure that neither these workers, nor the organisations themselves, will be left behind by the future.
Doing good for the world
Technologies such as automation and artificial intelligence are already enabling new, digital jobs that are less focused on routine and lower-level tasks, and more emphatic on “the human touch”.
But even as employees – especially those from the millennial and later generations – are freed from such mundanities, they are increasingly expecting more from their employers.
For example, a vast majority of millennials, as surveyed by Deloitte for a 2017 study, believe that “profit is not the only measure for business success”.
These expectations are already beginning to manifest in the increasingly-observed phenomenon of employee activism.
At Microsoft last year, workers implored their employer to reconsider a multi-billion dollar defence contract – all due to ethical concerns.
|“A vast majority of millennials believe that profit is not the only measure for business success.
“When we decided to work at Microsoft, we were doing so in the hopes of ‘empowering every person on the planet to achieve more,’ not with the intent of ending lives and enhancing lethality,” wrote a group of anonymous employees to online sharing platform Medium.
Meanwhile, some 1,400 Google employees signed a letter protesting the company’s top-secret censorship project with China.
The project, dubbed Dragonfly, involves the company building a special version of Google that blocks certain websites or keywords related to topics such as democracy and religion.
Only a few months later, more than 1,000 Google employees walked out in protest of the company’s seeming “workplace bro” culture – organised in response to a New York Times story claiming that the company protected high-level employees who faced allegations of misconduct, and spurred by the accumulating momentum of the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements.
That momentum is only going to continue grow, with employees seeking greater accountability and responsibility from their workplaces, even as technology transforms theirs roles to become increasingly strategic and productive.
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