Our CEO, Sandra Arévalo, was one of the invitees to participate at the Doing Good Doing Well 2019–a major event organised by IESE Business School in Barcelona for responsible European companies.

Sandra  served as a speaker on “The Future of work – Employment in the age of automation, robotics and artificial intelligence” panel. Moderated by Yanis Boubenider, the panel also welcomed the participation of Emily Elwes, CEO of Flylancer: Sampsa Samila, adjunct professor at IESE Business School and Marta Ochoa, Directrice of UNI Global Union.

With process automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, it is more than likely that the number of workers, especially those with less educational training, will be jobless. One of the main questions posed in the panel discussion was:

What step can we take to prepare ourselves for change and promise economic security for everyone?

Step 1.  Accept social and labour change

Emily Elwes highlighted the current increase in freelance and flexible work professionals. In fact, per Forbes, 50% of workers in US will be freelancers by 2021 and according to  Elwes, this trend will increase.

Similarly, Marta Ochoa affirms that 47% of jobs will disappear in a few years, for which it is necessary to ask the following:

  • Will technology help us fill the void where there no longer exist jobs
  • Will the economy be centred on humans or on the increase in profits?
  • We want machines to increase productivity, pero do workers as well?
  • Is society prepared for the change?

According to Sandra Arévalo, workers’ skill sets and talent will be valued with more weight economically in the future.

Sampsa Samila remarks that people with less education will be in the most vulnerable positions. He affirms that the key to adapting to the new era is education.

Step 2. Continuous learning and more human, responsible companies

According to experts, given that certain jobs will disappear, continuous learning and training will continue being a fundamental component in adapting.  However, what will happen with people who, for whatever reason, are not able to be educated?

Sandra Arévalo stresses the importance of making organisations more sustainables, as well as:

“We have to be aware of change and focus on the human being.”

In her perspective, companies have the responsibility to train their professionals in order for staff to continue having work in the future. Sandra affirms that society as a whole faces a challenge, part of which is to strengthen skills that are not replaceable by machines like creativity, critical thought, business analysis, empathy and emotional intelligence.

For Marta Ochoa, companies also have to help develop policies in order to build awareness, strengthen leadership and female empowerment, and train workers to adapt to change.

Step 3. Involve politicians, business groups and individuals in the change

Emily Elwes underscores the lack of politics which represents diversity amongst new professionals, primarily those in freelance or flexible work. She affirms that such politics will  shape future society and should be integrated more.

Emily also shared that there should not be a wait for policy to welcome change. Rather, it is necessary as users to consume responsibly and use services and products from companies that have positive values.

For Sampsa Samila, politics should take into account these new technological changes and create aid programmes for professional training and foster family-oriented flexibility.  

Sandra Arévalo adds that there are many difficulties for female workers and that such void should be improved upon through political changes, work culture and actions implemented on a personal level. For her, the idea of not waiting for legal regulations with arms crossed has gained prominence.

“Each individual, be it an entrepreneur or not, should build a future in collaboration with institutions, forming and participating in change.”

In conclusion, all panelists were in agreement that flexibility, continuous training and company involvement are an absolute must in change. One of the ways to adapt to future work is to opt for flexible work.

In Wisar, we love that companies take part in change and implement flexible work in their day-to-day operations. Would you like to see if your company is close to the work flexibility of the future? Have you identified clear actions you can implement to consider more sustainable models of work? We can provide you with consultancy services in the case of any doubts, contact us here.

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