by Gabriel Mario Rodrigues
Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABMES – The Brazilian Association of Private Higher Education Institutions
One of the strong trends in the Age of Innovation, called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is the change in labor relations. Starting with the meaning of the word work, which is no longer a place where it is “expedient” to be a result that surrenders. (Marcus Ronsoni, entrepreneur and senior executive mentor)
If we search in Wikipedia how many religions there are, we will count more than a hundred (Wolfang Kinzing, president of the College of Theology at the University of Bonn, stresses that today there must be over 9,000 denominations of Protestantism in the world and few following the cause of Luther). In spite of the profound diversity among them, there is in the understanding of eternal life a total consensus, as the Sociologist Domenico De Masi explains in his book Creative Leisure, that all have a paradise and in none of them does man work. Had Paradise been created by God, and not invented by men, if work was blessed, in Heaven everyone would work.
As there is no terrestrial paradise, prospecting the formation of human resources for work is strategic for our higher education institutions (HEIs). That’s a reason to follow the curatorship that Prof. Raulino Tramontin edits daily on educational topics and that gives me supports in the text of Prof. Marcus Ronsoni published by him: “The work of the future begins when?”
Creative destruction is a concept popularized by the Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter in his book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (1942). He describes the process of innovation that takes place in a market economy when new products destroy old companies’ business models. According to him, innovations in companies are the driving force behind sustained economic growth in the long run, despite destroying well-established companies.
What is striking about the current creative destruction is that everything has to do with the labor market that is generating acceleration in the contemporary world. Especially in the management of people, because if there is no market, there is no work.
Experts consulted by “Exame Magazine” on “5 trends (without return) of work in the future” point to careers with signs of growth, such as those related to sustainability; less environmental impact; reduction and correct disposal of waste; professions related to the energy sector; high technology in health; genetic studies and new drugs; standardization of operations and logistics; innovation management; digital marketing and e-commerce; relationship with customers; cloud data specialists; artificial intelligence; among others.
If we want to go further, looking for projections for 10, 20 or 30 years, no crystal ball can help, because the domain of artificial intelligence will have advanced so much that we will have many of our problems solved, but the question of employability is a mystery, even for futurists because the world’s largest corporations will increasingly have their sovereignty threatened by disruptive technologies and businesses, watching the exponential growth of startups, which is to say, stirring deeply with jobs.
As for the actuality, an inexorable change, the remote work and the fact that it will no longer be the traditional one of services over-the-counter, coming into force of the results and deliveries. In the near future, the cost of inefficiency will be the cost of the employee. In remote work there will be no set times for the services or requirement of location, only goals and tasks. The professional is evaluated and remunerated for his ability to deliver.
Then there is the work-on-demand (Freelance Economy), that is, the worker is self-employed, with neither benefits nor rights foreseen in law. Classic example is Uber and similar operations.
Organizations of all kinds will start hiring services on demand in a variety of markets. These workers will provide services to several companies at the same time, working in independent projects, for which the quality of the work delivered and their personal brand will be fundamental to guarantee new hires.
This does not mean that it will be easy, especially for older professionals, as it represents a profound paradigm shift, both in terms of relationships with organizations and in the forms of remuneration and career.
Significant fact is that structured careers will disappear. Being successful will no longer be synonymous with gaining hierarchical positions and reaching a management or board position. The age of destructive creativity tends to reward organizations that replace rigid hierarchies with networks of more agile and empowered teams. This may interest the employer more than the employee.
Learning must be in real-time, constant and accelerated. Flexibility and rapid and continuous learning are further valued in times of exponential change and the ability to solve complex problems are rare and coveted by the market. In addition, the attitudes of interpersonal relationships and leadership are valued. All blended with proactivity, self-management, focus on result, definition and redefinition of products and services and personal branding management.
Without oracles and futurology, work will continue to exist, although robots, artificial intelligence, and technology will replace mechanical and routine activities.
The world of work is changing, under pressure from transformations: from technology, through the impact of environmental changes, to migration cycles and demography. The coming years will also consolidate transformations in people’s way of living and thinking, which will be concerned, above all, with their quality of life and personal fulfillment. And the great challenge will be how to align the will with reality.