Future of Work ⁠2021 ⁠— meet top decision makers at the forefront of shaping a new era for jobs and leadership

Future of Work ⁠2021 ⁠— meet top decision makers at the forefront of shaping a new era for jobs and leadership
Future of WorkBusiness Insider
  • The world is at the cusp of a lasting change that most people are not prepared for.
  • Questions about the future of work should not stop at what jobs will still exist at the end of this decade.
  • What we need to know is how to get ourselves up to speed with the changes around us.
  • To answer those vexing questions about the future unravelling in front of us, Business Insider is bringing together some of the world’s most insightful and influential voices as part of a virtual summit.
  • Register and engage with the folks who are actively shaping the future for all of us.
The year of 2021 is, probably, the best year to sit back and wonder about the future of work. Almost half of the world’s workforce is working from home, and a quarter has given up hope of ever going back to office. The world is also at the cusp of an automated and Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning driven future is being tried and tested now. This would be one of the discussion points at the Future of Work event organized by Business Insider on September 16-17, 2021.

New jobs, new skills

A glimpse of the future also brings with it — the fear of job losses as the World Economic Forum has predicted that automation will take away 75 million jobs by 2022. Yet, the Future of Work report predicts that new opportunities like digitization may add 133 million jobs.

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While self-driving cars and trucks are threatening to dump the driver, the evolution of technology offers an opportunity for engineers to thrive. But the driver can’t take the techie’s job. Similar disruptions are visible everywhere from airports to restaurants, from public utilities to high finance and law where apps and bots are ready to replace ⁠— if not replaced already ⁠— the traditional workforce at least partially.

That would also mean a large chunk of the workforce will have to develop new and better skills, quickly and efficiently.


These changes would affect the entire workforce including the top brass to the entry level employees. “Leaders must also ensure that everyone in the organization understands the importance and necessity for employee-driven continuous learning and have the requisite processes in place to encourage and allow for that. The future organization needs a mix of employees that continuously learn and a source of talent with specific skills that’s available on demand,” said Tony Saldanha, former vice president of Procter & Gamble in the report Future of Work by Talent Alpha.

The first phase of work-from-home has already shown us some of the challenges. “The playbook for remote leadership is still a work in progress. Both ‘earning the trust’ and ‘keeping the faith’ are going to get as tough as imperative. There is an opportunity to redefine professional relationships in a way the inspirers will excel more than the taskmasters. And communication will form an integral part of this process. It is not enough for leaders to know their core teams and cliques that get work done. Every cog in the corporate wheel must feel acknowledged and appreciated. This has the potential for a cultural revolution in workplaces. Every remote manager, irrespective of his or her rank, will need the skill and maturity that was once expected of the CEO of a multinational corporation. This kind of managerial talent will be rare and, hence, will command a premium,” Sriram Iyer, the Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider India, said during the Global Trends Festival last year.

Gigs, chips and laws

A large number of these new-age jobs might come without baggage of traditional jobs like long commutes and rigid hours, as they could be in the form of gigs. Big techs like Google are also heralding the trend of ‘shadow workforce’ where they have more temporary and contract workers than actual employees, as per the report.

Remote working will test the capacity for trust for both organizations and leaders. As per the report, a Swedish startup has implanted all its employees with microchips, and another tech firm is looking for legalities that can allow it to do so. However, few employees around the world might condone this, as worries of data usage are already spreading fast and wide.

The workforce in a hyperconnected world can also need to adapt with competencies to handle gig jobs and develop skills that can differentiate them from robots and algorithms.

“We need to take active ownership, make decisions and take the lead; because it’s our ability to think on our feet, be agile and street smart that really differentiates us from our digital counterparts. So the valuable skills are - our cognitive capacity for courage, creativity and sociality,” says AdeMcCormack, advisor to Fortune 500 companies, in the report.

The case for welfare

The rapid changes in the way organizations transform and workforce adapts also shifts the balance of power. A new law by California legislation says that tech companies and others are not providing employees with basic protection like minimum wage, sick leaves, paid leaves and health insurance for drivers, delivery personnel and more such.

Many companies will have to revisit their business model that had not factored in welfare as an expense. The question is can we smoothen this inevitable transition and how do we make it acceptable to a large population that not only stands to lose the most but has the least power to sustain through this shift.

The new age workplace is also quite different and much more diverse, with a better mix of genders, pay parity, flexibility and work-life balance. All in all, the workplace is hurtling towards an ideal situation --- which is a transformative change in itself. Before that however sustainable solutions need to be evolved. Some such voices could be heard at the Business Insider Future of Work event from experts across industries who will debate how, when and how much we all work in the years to come.

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