Skill upgradation helps everyone
The ordinary ‘middle-class’ repetitive production jobs, book-keeping jobs, data entry jobs are no more ‘relevant’. However, jobs belonging to the higher and lower ends have, in fact proliferated.Updated: Sep 25, 2019 10:31 IST
The tech revolution has been a boon, indeed, with record breaking economy and stock market. But this technology advancement has led to proliferation of automation which has also made repetitive jobs redundant, especially those of the executive- level, clerical posts and having large manual content. An obvious consequence of these routine layoffs has an impact on employee engagement, and also on the organization’s brand, if the redundancies are not managed well. We need to first understand the basic root cause for most redundancies today. The reason is that cheap availability of computing power and cloud storage are automating routine jobs. Digital processes are being integrated in the business processes and further stamping out other human tasks.
As a result of the various disruptions thanks to technological transformation, business models of organizations are undergoing a substantial shift. It’s taking over mundane, repetitive tasks. Consumer behaviours are also changing. And so is the customer expectation. Organizations also are now looking at ways to be more efficient and productive by using technology. Due to this there is a huge churn in the skill-sets that are needed by organizations.
The technology overhaul has surely resulted in creation of new types of jobs that require special skill sets.
The ordinary ‘middle-class’ repetitive production jobs, book-keeping jobs, data entry jobs are no more ‘relevant’. However, jobs belonging to the higher and lower ends have, in fact proliferated. The higher end jobs which require more ‘human’ skills such as networking, creativity, problem-solving, etc. have increased. And so have the low-end ‘hands-on’ jobs such as those of the restaurant service workers, house support aids, baby-sitters have also become more high-priced thanks to the fact that these can never be automated! In a nutshell, the technological advancement will create a situation where certain kinds of workforce will face the risk of redundancies. Also, there will be huge demand for certain skills which will be in large demand. A clear case of demand-supply mismatch both-ways.
Let’s have a fair approach to layoffs
Layoffs are leading to people becoming redundant since their skillsets are no longer needed by organizations. And this impact is across sectors. Hence, if a person feels, they will be fungible in the talent market with the same skillsets, then they are disconnected from ground reality. It is a fallacy of thought that they need to correct, now!
The only way to stay relevant as a prospective and a progressive employee, is by acquiring skills that are needed by organizations in their current business context. Skills, nowadays, have a very short shelf-life. Hence, employees need to get comfortable with the idea of constantly unlearning old skills and learning new ones throughout their careers. The first movers will always have an edge over the ones who follow.
Organizations have a crucial role to play here. Working closely with the clients to find out the role requirements, in-demand skills, and identifying candidates with the matching skills and channelizing the best fit for upskilling programs will surely boost the employee morale.
As leaders we must also promote a culture of learning and career guidance, and not hesitate to offer short, focused upskilling programs. It’s all about getting the employees ready for the high growth roles and provide them with the support and learning they need.
Forward looking organizations have already embraced the fact and they have initiated training and learning programs for their employees to keep them relevant, inside or outside of their organization. Some skills, however are timeless and will always be relevant, e.g. - communication, decision making, networking etc. And, having the “right attitude”, of course, will be a premium that will compensate for a lot of missing skills!
The author is Country Manager, Right Management India, part of ManpowerGroup India