The fourth industrial age
which we are currently in, comes with new challenges and opportunities. There
are new developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology etc.
It is expected that the coming changes will introduce many innovations but at
the same time may pose as obstacles that will require proactive adaptation for
people, employers, and the government.

The work environment is
changing at a fast pace. Automation and machines are replacing human tasks and
job roles thereby, altering the skills that organisations require in order to
thrive. Interestingly, the new rise in automation is setting new guidelines and
ensuring market dominance for companies that are quick to jump on these trends.
We have seen the rise of Fintech companies competing with traditional banks
with their savings platforms and interesting innovations.

It should be apparent that
the future of work is not so distant anymore. The anticipated changes are
currently happening with the various technology advancements that we experience
in various sectors daily. A 2017 study conducted by Mckinsey Global Institute[2] predicted that one-fifth of the
global work force will be affected by automation. The study stated that work
that is monotonous will be replaced by automation, while jobs that require
human interaction such as teaching, and healthcare are less prone to

This new industrial age
requires new skillsets that must be developed. People in the middle skillset
category that are not prepared for this change may lose their jobs and fall
into the low skillset group. Some occupations are currently undergoing a
fundamental change, and while some jobs are threatened by redundancy and others
grow rapidly, existing jobs are also going through a change in the skillsets
required to do them.

It is not all doom and
gloom. Studies have also shown that the inception of previous technological
advancements had led to better productivity, new jobs, and increased wealth.
This does not mean, however, that these transitions will be without risks and
its difficulties, but preparing and anticipating these shifts are important for
remaining relevant.

Some jobs did not exist
until the 2000s and occupations like digital marketing, cloud computing,
blockchain engineering were not available in the last industrial age. The World
Economic Forum in its Global Challenge Insight report (2016) opined that an
estimate of 65% of children entering primary school right now will be working
in completely new jobs and sectors that do not exist now.[3]

The same report also
predicted a positive outlook on employment across various industries with new
jobs springing up in a seemingly random fashion. However, there will be need for
more talents with high skills to deliver on the job. Unfortunately, businesses
are currently facing recruitment challenges because of the dearth of talents to
fit these emerging roles.

The main challenge is how
are people, business corporations and the government going to handle and react
to these developments. The following are a couple of recommended ways to be
prepared for the changes unfolding to avoid getting caught off-guard.

Implication on People

Everyone needs to understand
that the future of jobs is not a distant phenomenon, it is already here. As
indicated above, individuals with the most risk are those who have repetitive
jobs while people who are involved in social interaction may not necessarily be
affected by automation. To remain relevant, it is only required that workers
learn new skills by paying attention to rising trends and appropriately realign
their competencies. Middle skill workers that refuse to re-skill will find
themselves in low-level paying jobs.

Implication on

The first thing businesses
need to do is to own the automation space. The competition for a market share
will only be enhanced by embracing automation and a deeper understanding of the
changing technology landscape, without leaving this exclusively to the Human
Resource or Information Technology departments.

The next problem that
organizations will face is the lack of available manpower that will be needed
to carry out the jobs effectively. Businesses will have to retrain their
employees to acquire more relevant skills. Conscious reskilling and upskilling
training will be needed for employees going forward.

Businesses will also be
faced with competition in acquiring the relevant skilled talents and even
tougher competition retaining them. But this can be avoided if organisations
institute an intellectually stimulating environment for their employees, while
creating a safe environment for them to express their views freely in the work
place. This will help them retain their top talents. Employees also need to have
a sense of dignity in themselves and their work because a lot of their identity
is tied to their work. It is far cheaper and more effective to train your
employees in-house than sourcing for the best talents in the labour market.

For Government

The primary role of the
Government in the future of jobs is centered around policymaking and
implementation. The government should be making fiscal and monetary policies
that will drive up aggregate demand of the workforce which has a direct impact
on jobs by increasing its numbers.

If technological shifts are
focused on only reorganization and the pursuit of higher revenue and not
achieving proper income and wealth distribution, it can be counterproductive.
The Government needs to ensure that automation does not make the poor poorer
and further deepening the wealth gap and economic inequality. Therefore, it is
advisable for the government to collaborate with their teaching institutions to
train individuals on a massive scale with the relevant skills and motivation to
compete effectively on the global market and to propel the growth of the local



When technological changes
occur but the required talents are inadequate, this leads to unemployment and
inequality. To prevent this, there is need to acquire the right mindset for
lifelong learning, re-skilling, and re-tooling for today’s workers. Businesses
need to be involved in training their employees with the skillsets needed to
handle these new jobs. Governments must ensure that the right policies are
formulated to provide better environment for businesses to thrive. Governments
also need to consider collaborating with industries and universities so that
they can produce a large pool of individuals possessing the right skillsets
relevant in today’s world.

Finally, teaching
institutions will need to rejig their curriculum. This is because most of their
teaching methods are outdated and out of step with present demands, and
graduates are ill-prepared for the available job roles. Universities need to
collaborate with industries and businesses to update their curriculum to
reflect the current realities and prepare adequately for the future.

For further information on
this article and area of law, please contact Temitope Fadare at:         
S. P.A. Ajibade & Co., Lagos by telephone (+234 1 472 9890), fax (+234 1
4605092)   mobile (+234 7055084677) or email (tfadare@spaajibade.com).

Source: www.spaajibade.com

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