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The work of the future no longer waits | Business

The future of work is already with us. The collaboration between the human being and the machine is present in various industries, such as the automotive industry. Artificial intelligence, through chatbot, provides customer service in various sectors. Virtual meetings stopped being a novelty to become something everyday. And, thanks to the strength of connectivity, some activities are done remotely without the presence of employees at company headquarters. The world of work has been transformed before our eyes as a result of the pandemic, and while technology continues to break through at cruising speed, challenges (such as talent management) are piling up.

Ernest Calvet, Vice President of the Mediterranean area of ​​ServiceNow.
Ernest Calvet, Vice President of the Mediterranean area of ​​ServiceNow.Aitor Sol

“The future is no longer future. The future is today”, commented Ernest Calvet, vice president of the Mediterranean area of ​​ServiceNow. “We have seen that absolutely everything has accelerated with the pandemic,” the manager stressed. Today, the business world is beginning to see the fruits of investments in digitization. “Companies are increasingly clear that investment in technology is absolutely necessary. It is no longer an option,” he added. But this industrial transformation, the fourth in the history of humanity, is being much faster than the previous ones, according to Toni Roldán, director of the Center for Economic Policies at Esade. And, perhaps, it is the one that is also leaving more questions about the role that workers will play in the face of digital advances. “There is a transition period in which we do not know what is going to happen… There is a lot of research that says that new jobs are going to be created and that they will compensate for the loss of those that are going to be destroyed. [por la automatización]”, he assured.

A changing market

The Randstad employment consultancy highlights that one of the main challenges facing the economy is the automation of production, so that one in seven workers will lose their current job globally. In the specific case of Spain, 52% of current jobs are at risk of being partially or fully automated in the next decade, according to the firm’s analysis. This situation should not lead to an increase in unemployment. In fact, the changing nature of the labor market has been a permanent feature of technological progress. “20 years ago we could not imagine that a kid would earn millions of dollars on YouTube,” Roldán exemplified. “Now [ser un youtuber] It is a job like many others”.

The only certainty so far is that the coronavirus has broken cultural and technological barriers. “People now participate in meetings, in totally virtual working groups. One part is in the office, another part is working from home… this has completely changed the paradigm and the expectations of our employees”, commented Alexandra Brandao, global head of human resources at Banco Santander. During a meeting —organized by Retina, in collaboration with ServiceNow—, the three experts agreed that in this new digital age, skills development is more important than ever. what we call upskilling (teaching a worker new skills) and reskilling (professional recycling, to adapt the employee to a new position) gain relevance among companies.

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Toni Roldán, Director of the Center for Economic Policies at Esade.
Toni Roldán, Director of the Center for Economic Policies at Esade.Santiago Burgos

It is not for less. As digitization increases, 50% of workers globally will need to retrain and learn new skills between now and 2025, according to World Economic Forum (WEF) estimates. “Before we believed that work was for life and that has changed,” adds Brandao. The expert from the financial institution explained that the labor market is demanding new profiles, especially those called STEAM: people with knowledge in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics. “The profiles that we are attracting to the bank are people who understand banking and technology,” she added. “Talent is, perhaps, the most important part of the company”, stressed Calvet. “Not only do you have to attract it, but you also have to retain it.” This requires avoiding redundant tasks and facilitating work. And technology has a lot to do with this.

“In 2025, the workforce will be made up of 75% millennials and people from generation Z who were practically born in the digital age,” stressed the ServiceNow manager. These groups demand companies with a platform to manage all things related to their job, from the process of boarding (incorporation systems) to formation, according to Calvet.

Listening to the needs of the workers also has to do with a change of model. “You have to constantly know what the expectations are, how the teams are working, how the productivity is…”, the Santander expert stressed. Companies even get involved in issues that until a few years ago were extraordinary, such as health care. “At Santander we have appointed a global health and wellness director who is working as a team and until a few years ago it seemed that companies had little to do with this,” said the bank representative.

The time to transform is now. The arrival of European funds (with a component dedicated to professional training) will give a boost to those companies that seek to boost their staff. “When there is free financing, it is possible to make reforms and, at the same time, compensate the losers of the reforms,” ​​said Roldán. There are two great challenges in the market. The first is that digitization does not make the employee precarious, according to the expert from Esade. The second: that the Government adapt the regulation to a new reality. Social protection systems are associated with long-term work and this has changed. “Protection has to be linked to each worker, not to the job,” Roldán concluded.

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