Job Redistribution In The New Normal
As globalization gets reoriented post-pandemic, the industry transformation that was already underway with IoT, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Drone technology, and 5G infrastructure will gather pace and momentum to reduce wastages and leakages and to improve productivity with reskilled resources.
The real reason why many in the manufacturing and service sectors shall be forced to have more than one source of earning is because of the fact that AI and ML are going to replace many of the manual and repetitive jobs in hundreds of traditional job segments. The errors and mistakes shall reduce and there shall be time-bound completion of work.
From accounting to assembly lines, from MIS to statistical analysis, from procurement planning to logistics, and many more functions, the use of customizable and standardized software (e.g. SaaS) packages will increase as the manpower gets comfortable to operate the system according to the organization’s needs.
Training, online courses, and new course modules in new skill areas shall grow exponentially. How is our business environment coping up with this changed new normal?
The job market had started transitioning in the last 4-5 years to accommodate technology making certain blue-collar jobs redundant, and as experts and researchers estimate, many high paying white-collar jobs too are in danger of getting redundant due to AI (Artificial Intelligence). Robotics, IoT, and AI shall revamp the way factories function and the way inventory management, scheduling of tasks and processes, and labour allocation gets implemented.
On the one hand, the pandemic has forced the factories and manufacturing processes to get smart and automatic to reduce the dependence on human decision making and labour availability, on the other hand, it has expedited the resource re-allocation process.
Another disruption will be seen in the way the middle-class working population gets to make their living. While many in the service sector have lost their jobs, many are finding ways to balance risks and secure their financial status by creating alternative sources of income. It is no longer viable to live in expensive metropolitan cities and meet the expenses alongside reserving a part of the income on investment to take care of the unforeseen expenses. But investment in some financial instruments to grow the money earned is a must in the face of the emerging crisis induced by the pandemic.
Companies shall no longer be in need of many of the employees on full-time employment because they could easily make do of their work with part-time and freelance employees, at a lesser cost. While the economy will expand and new job opportunities in the service and manufacturing sectors shall come up, the number of lower-income jobs will be more and the number of middle-income jobs shall reduce especially in the service sector.
The skill upgradation and enhancement programs for blue-collar workers will help them get on to take more quality jobs within their organizations which were earlier fulfilled by qualified and more educated personnel because the decision making at the routine levels will be automated.
Remote working and working from home would be more accepted in the marketplace not just due to the pandemic and the forced adjustments we have to currently live with, but also due to better communication technologies available making interactive decision making smoother, and avoiding commuting over long distances. People working in factories would of course be living close to their factories as they have to be on the shop-floor or in their site offices to supervise and manage the operations, but the factories would gradually shift much beyond the urban town limits to decongest the metros and to control the vehicular emissions and resulting pollution.
Thus at every level of organizational hierarchy jobs are being redistributed, and within the industry too. The use of drones will make delivery of smaller and lightweight packages and food or grocery items efficient. Surveillance would be efficient and economical too.
At the international stage too, much of manufacturing and IT sector developments will shift to developing and emerging countries, and this will herald the movement of experienced personnel in traditional and new-age industries from developed western economies to countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Middle-east, and Africa. Urban commercial and residential infrastructure and facility management services will take a facelift in emerging and developing countries. This will necessitate the training of a huge number of service personnel.
More new airports will come up in smaller towns as air connectivity improves and as trade between cities, states, and villages grow. High-tech aircraft manufacturing and maintenance jobs will come into developing countries and along with it the need of associated services to serve the travellers. Electric vehicle and charging infrastructure will throw open new manufacturing and service jobs, while not totally shutting down the fossil fuel-driven vehicles and filling stations. The renewable energy sector will grow which will open new manufacturing jobs that require a new set of skills and technology.
Agriculture too will get modernized with the use of drones and robots, and remote driven solar irrigation pumps. Real-time data will make possible more efficient use of the agricultural land so that multiple crops can be grown within a yearly cycle. With fewer people required to get engaged in agricultural activities, people will be motivated to take up more value-added jobs in food processing and logistics sectors which are still grey areas in many developing nations.
An equally large number of highly trained and skilled engineering and managerial workforce will be needed to manage the transition and to operate and deliver the new-age infrastructure in industries and commercial sectors. Many jobs will vanish but at the same time, many more will get redistributed requiring improved new knowledge and skills.
So training, education, and skill development sectors will need both full-time and part-time personnel to meet the demands of the professional services. So we are going to see more automation, more value-added services at our doorsteps, more efficient healthcare infrastructure, and more people re-skilling themselves and driving themselves up the growth pipeline. More entrepreneurs in the technology sector will create more jobs than before.
The developed economies will continue to attract bright students, researchers, and innovators as they have an established ecosystem to thrive. The universities are well equipped with the best tools and resources to impart knowledge that’s way ahead of time and can shape the future. Wealthy nations will continue to invest in making new sources of energy viable and available for the rest of the world to adopt, and they will at the same time find more efficient ways to curb wastage of energy and re-use of energy. The stakeholders will of course be lesser developed and emerging nations too because they have some of the brightest minds waiting to shine at the global stage.
We will see more countries getting into fast-paced development and economic progress because the quality of life and environment have to be equally balanced globally so as to make full use of the investment made in research and development of technology and in training people to handle technology effectively and productively.
Instead of getting apprehensive and panicked, it’s time to embrace and adapt to the real new normal that’s going to give us a better and richer lifestyle in a more sustainable environment. Travel will soon restart and new destinations will attract more travellers which will drive the realities of the new normal in a healthier and joyous way.
It’s time to unlearn and relearn, be adaptive, and become skilful at handling diversified challenges of new jobs and new roles.