- Covid-19: COVID-19 and the New World of Work.
- Global impacts of corona virus on Jobs
- Assessing the New Nature of Work
- Skills to navigate the ‘’New world of work’’
- Next Steps for Professionals.
PREPARED BY: VICTORIA ESSIET
SECTION 1: COVID -19 AND THE NEW WORLD OF WORK: CURRENT SITUATION
Almost half of the world’s population is on lockdown in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, a public health emergency that has claimed thousands of lives and sparked fears of the worst global recession since the Great Depression. This has had a profound impact on the world of work, as well as our mental and physical well-being.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has already infected almost 4.03 million people in 148 countries, resulting in more than 279,000 deaths, and has 1.038,000 recovered people. In Nigeria, According to the National Center for disease control, the total number of cases have risen to 4,151 as of 9th May , 2020, with over 125 deaths recorded. Some estimates suggest that 40-70 per cent of the world’s population could become infected.
No doubt, according to International Labour Organization (ILO) , the crisis has already transformed into an economic and labour market shock, impacting not only supply (production of goods and services) but also demand (consumption and investment). Disruptions to production, initially in Asia, have now spread to supply chains across the world.
All businesses, regardless of size, are facing serious challenges, especially those in the aviation, tourism and hospitality industries, with a real threat of significant declines in revenue, insolvencies and job losses in specific sectors.
Sustaining business operations will be particularly difficult for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Following travel bans, border closures and quarantine measures, many workers cannot move to their places of work or carry out their jobs, which has knock-on effects on their incomes, particularly for informal and casually employed workers. Consumers in many economies are unable or reluctant to purchase goods and services. Given the current environment of uncertainty and fear, enterprises are likely to delay investments, purchases of goods and the hiring of workers.
Section 2: CORONAVIRUS IMPACT ON JOBS:
A total of 81% of the global workforce of 3.3 billion people have had their workplace fully or partly closed. Restrictions on daily life have led to the closure of many companies and the laying off of staff – either permanently or temporarily. In Nigeria alone, we have heard of firms especially Tech firms and bank such as Andela and Access banks laying off huge number of their workforce.
The International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, has been looking at the global impact with a series of charts. See below.
Their work shows the global scale of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“Workers and businesses are facing catastrophe, in both developed and developing economies,” said ILO director general Guy Ryder.”We have to move fast, decisively, and together. The right, urgent, measures, could make the difference between survival and collapse.”
More importantly than causing scarcity of jobs, the Pandemic is also restructuring how work is been done. This leads us to the next session on the new nature of work, post -COVID-19.
SECTION 3: What is the New Nature of Work ?.
Job loss is only one of the many effects of COVID-19 on work and workers. These effects cascade beyond accelerating the ongoing work-from-home movement. Some of these changes could persist well beyond the pandemic itself. In the midst of COVID-19 and measures being taken to contain its impact, many employees are not just doing their jobs but transforming their job routines.
Coronavirus is eliminating the tasks that some employees normally do. There are no clients to consult, no trips to book, no students to teach, no concerts to perform and organize, no products to deliver, no new data to input.
This is because the use of technology has led to the adoption of some of these routines. Virtual work , teaching and learning has taken over. Employees, together with their managers and coworkers, are rearranging work and take on different responsibilities.
Many of the tasks employees are doing now were not imagined even weeks ago. People are becoming crisis managers, sanitation monitors and work-from-home co-ordinators. Lets look critically at this in different ways .
In the scramble to shut down, every organization had to embrace a mobile way of working. Having arrived home and got set up, we have all had to get used to the tech which enables us to work anywhere, anytime. It has propelled IT and technology to the forefront. The companies who had already embraced a dispersed structure, or even a degree of agile working have a significant head start over more traditional players, who will experience all the pitfalls of the shift to remote without enjoying the benefits. Having migrated from our offices, business leaders are now raising questions about the expensive workplaces which now stand locked and silent.
As humans we need social contact to grow, learn, stay engaged and stay well, and although technology assists us in periods of enforced isolation. In the context of business this means that there will always be a requirement for a physical presence. What this means is that tangible skills will still be required. Attributes that will be needed by most enduring companies for individuals are :
Resilience in difficult times
Speed of response
Investment in their your talent
Resilience lies in both people and infrastructure. And with a significant increase in remote working more attention will have to be paid to infrastructure – IT hardware, cyber-security measures and also software to aid collaboration, to measure staff performance & effectiveness, and to generally equip the organizations for a dispersed staff cohort. But we will also see a new movement in training and building teams to prepare them for similar future disruption.
Culture and innovation lie at the heart of the best organizations – as the people and the vision are what allow it to capitalize on the changing environment, and the post-virus winners will be the organizations which recognize this and have the courage to jettison their old paradigms and start afresh.
Recruitment and Hiring
With the competitive landscape of many industries altered by business collapse we could see an early fight for the best brains; to give the fastest moving organizations the advantage on innovation.
The knowledge economy will migrate to cyberspace with no need for office space, and organizations’ hiring requirements will shift: Older users will be less able to adapt to the virtual era will find themselves marginalized. Extrovert personalities who are strong at interpersonal and speaking skills, could be passed over in favor of introverts who can put their thinking and argument more succinctly in the written word (the preferred communication mode of the dispersed economy).
Statistics on Change Effects of Corona Virus
COVID-19 will have far-reaching impacts on labour market outcomes. Beyond the urgent concerns about the health of workers and their families, the virus and the subsequent economic shocks will impact the world of work across three key dimensions:
1) The quantity of jobs (both unemployment and underemployment);
2) The quality of work (e.g. wages and access to social protection);
3) Effects on specific groups who are more vulnerable to adverse labour market outcomes.
Impact on global unemployment and underemployment Initial ILO estimates point to a significant rise in unemployment and underemployment in the wake of the virus. Based on different scenarios for the impact of COVID-19 on global GDP growth (see Annex I), preliminary ILO estimates indicate a rise in global unemployment of between 5.3 million (“low” scenario) and 24.7 million (“high” scenario) from a base level of 188 million in 2019. Though these estimates remain highly uncertain, all figures indicate a substantial rise in global unemployment. (Source: International Labour Organization).
Section 4. Skills Needed to Navigate the New World of Work during and in a Post -coronavirus world. Forbes
As most of us are in lockdown at home, we are left to wonder what a post-coronavirus-world might look like. There’s a lot unknown about how the world will transform after we get the novel coronavirus under control, but it is extremely unlikely that things will just go back to exactly the way they were before. Our workplaces are likely to change, and with it, the skills companies will require new skill . Here are eight job skills that are likely to be in high demand in a post-coronavirus world.
8 Job Skills To Succeed In A Post-Coronavirus World
Adaptability and Flexibility
One thing is for certain, the ways companies operate and work are going to change. The world was already changing rapidly, but the pandemic accelerated it. There will be few “jobs for life.” Someone that is going to succeed in a post-coronavirus-world will need to be able to adapt to ever-evolving workplaces and have the ability to continuously update and refresh their skills.
One of the best ways to prepare yourself for a post-coronavirus-world is to acquire technology skills. The COVID-19 pandemic is fast-tracking digital transformations in companies as they are trying to become more resilient to future outbreaks and disruptions. The reality is that technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, and robotics will make businesses more resilient to future pandemics, and anyone that can help companies exploit these technologies will be in a great position. Whether you work in a manufacturing firm or an accounting office in a post-coronavirus world, you need to be comfortable with these tech tools as well as be able to work with them effectively.
Creativity & Innovation
The importance of creativity and innovation was clearly highlighted during the pandemic. Businesses that have been able to come up with ways to deliver services virtually (like many healthcare providers have done) or quickly shift to new products (like Mercedes F1 that have shifted from making racing cars to innovative breathing aids) have been able to better weather the storm. In a post-coronavirus world, we will need human ingenuity to invent, dream up new products and ways of working. Human creativity is going to be essential.
Data is a critical asset for every company. With the right data, companies are able to better predict the impact of future business disruptions and are better able to serve customers with the right products and services during or after any pandemic. Companies that understand business trends and shifting customer needs are better able to respond in the right way should a future pandemic come along. However, the data is useless to a company unless there is data literacy—people equipped with skills to understand the data and make better decisions because of it. Professionals with data literacy will be even more appealing to prospective employers than ever before.
Another skill that will be essential as our global economy rebuilds from the damage done by COVID-19 is critical thinking. During the pandemic, we have seen a spike in fake news and misrepresentations of data therefore , People who can objectively evaluate information from diverse sources to determine what is credible will be valued. Not all information should be trusted, but organizations will need to rely on critical thinking to understand what information should inform decision-making.
Digital And Coding Skills
Coronavirus led to a boost of the digital transformation of organizations; therefore, professionals with digital skills, including coding, web development, and digital marketing, will become even more important than they are now. People who can keep the digital business running—and thriving—during economic downturns or pandemics that make in-person business impossible or less efficient are going to be on the must-hire list. And, basically, ALL companies are now digitally based in some way, so the opportunities to put digital skills to work are countless.
One of the changes in a world that is heavily augmented by the support of machines and where social distancing and home working might continue for the foreseeable future, is that more people at all levels of an organization will be in a position where they lead others. Professionals with strong skills in leadership, including how to bring out the best and inspire teams as well as encourage collaboration, will be in demand.
Closely linked to leadership is another skill that is even more important in uncertain and challenging times: Emotional Intelligence (EQ). The ability to be aware of, express, and control our emotions and be aware of others’ emotions is what emotional intelligence is all about. At times when people might feel uncertain about their job and the future of their business, it is key to connect with people on an emotional level. Individuals with strong EQ will be coveted by organizations of all sizes and in all industries.
Commit to a Lifetime of Learning
According to the World Economic Forum, in just five years, 35 percent of the skills deemed essential today will change. There’s only one way to remain relevant in a post-coronavirus reality: commit to a lifetime of learning. When faced with a tight job market, professionals with advanced and expert job skills will still be in demand and will likely struggle less to find employment. The good news is that improving your skills has never been easier. Today, it doesn’t require years of study or hefty loans to build up your skillset to be prepared for a post-coronavirus world. There are endless free and open online courses (MOOCs) available that will help you improve your skills.
Section 5 : Next Steps for Professionals
Unarguably, the pandemic has completely altered the normal ways of doing things and working . Therefore, it has become imperative for everyone to adapt by adjusting to the current realities before it becomes too late for them to do so. To this end, therefore, we recommend some steps that professionals may consider right away. Chief among these recommendations is the need to seek change. This is a no-brainer, bearing in mind that the global economy has taken a serious beat by the pandemic, even as Nigeria is now said to be heading towards what could easily become its worst recession in years. These recommendations range from the need to improve on one’s professional skills, to the importance of imbibing basic financial literacy skills. See below:
- Learn new professional and soft skills. You can learn skills on Edx, Coursera, Allison etc.
- Attend online courses, webinars to broaden knowledge.
- Use the opportunity to learn new things.
- Cut out non-essential living expenses.
- Draw up personal budget and review periodically.
- Utilize Financial Mobile Apps to save towards a project.
- Refinance existing personal loans. Hold cash
- Listen to podcasts.
We will see the end of this episode and life will never return to a pre-2020 mode. There are some significant mountains to climb yet, we need to brace up for what lies ahead. It is difficult to draw any conclusions, yet, we need to learn and we need to adapt especially when the new world unfolds. So, there is hope – as Winston Churchill once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”
Reference Sources :
International Labour Organization
Adam Grant: How Coronavirus has changed the world of work
Howard Banes : The COVID-19 world and its Impact on the Future of work.