The year of specialized work and continued recalibration


January 28, 2021

By: Houston Slatton

What better way to kick off 2021 than with some age-old wisdom from the most outstanding figure in medicine, Hippocrates: “Persons in whom a crisis takes place pass the night preceding the paroxysm (spasm) uncomfortably, but the succeeding night generally more comfortably.”

In other words, if last year was the “uncomfortable paroxysm” then this year should be markedly less so, as most of us have adjusted to the new normal. Yes, things are still a little shaky, but at least we aren’t at the height of the disruption. In fact, in many cases it seems companies are embracing the changes and shifting their hiring practices and organizational frameworks to include more remote workers.

According to a recent World Economic Forum report: “41% of companies plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work” and as a result of the COVID-19 recession, “day-to-day digitalization has leapt forward, with a large-scale shift to remote working and e-commerce, driving a surge in work-from-home arrangements and a new marketplace for remote work.”

Another interesting insight based on a four-year projection by the authors, “by 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal. A significant share of companies also expect to make changes to locations, their value chains, and the size of their workforce due to factors beyond technology in the next five years.”

However, despite these shifts and focus on technology, it still holds true that “despite the current economic downturn, the large majority of employers recognize the value of human capital investment.”

As far as the future is concerned — namely for those willing to innovate, get creative, and adapt — opportunities abound. Furthermore, specialized workers and the demand for expertise will continue to grow as companies recalibrate. The intended result: workforces and an economy that comes back stronger, more resilient, and better equipped to adapt to future disruptions.

 

To read the full WEF “Future of Jobs Report” click here.