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Insight into the Future of Work


Mamadou Biteye - Managing Director, Africa Regional Office The Rockefeller Foundation

“Young Africans have already demonstrated a zeal for harnessing information and communications technologies (ICT), the backbone of the digital economy.

Digital jobs can address the youth unemployment challenge and transform lives through earned income, transferable skills and direct and indirect benefits for families and communities."

Kuben Naidoo - was Head of the Secretariat to the National Planning Commission until September 2012

“South Africa is still battling against the ‘siege mentality’ of the apartheid economy, where markets were highly uncompetitive. We have uncompetitive product markets…everything from maize to retail. This, together with uncompetitive labour markets, had to change."

"It’s essential to bring in skilled foreigners, at least in the short- to medium-term. For every highly skilled worker you import, the expectation is that you create between four and eight jobs."

Jeff Weiner - CEO at Linkedin

“There is a widening skills gap where the existing workforce has been educated and trained to obtain the jobs of yesterday and not the jobs of today and tomorrow."

Lynda Gratton - Organizational theorist, consultant, and Professor of Management Practice at London Business School

“Work itself is changing because anything that’s easy to do can be outsourced to another country where it can be done cheaper and faster. And increasingly it’s being done by a piece of advanced technology. That trend will only grow as more skilled work is taken on by artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

If you combine AI with big data then what you’re already beginning to see is that some of the work that we thought only clever, expensive people could do is being taken over. We’re already seeing what economists have called a ‘hollowing out of the middle’ as lots of jobs that were semi-skilled have disappeared — forever."

Vivek Bapat - SAP Global Vice President, Portfolio and Strategic Marketing

“We have to start thinking not about fitting people into jobs, but rather looking at the person and creating a job around them, nurturing their passions and developing their skills."

Rachel Happe - Co-Founder, The Community Roundtable

“The balance of power between organizations and people is shifting. That’s a good thing because it holds everybody more accountable and makes us deliver better products and experiences."

Michael Rendell - Head of Human Capital Consulting, PwC

“Disruptive innovations are creating new industries and business models, and destroying old ones. New technologies, data analytics and social networks are having a huge impact on how people communicate, collaborate and work. As generations collide, workforces become more diverse and people work longer; traditional career models may soon be a thing of the past. Many of the roles and job titles of tomorrow will be ones we’ve not even thought of yet."

Geoffrey Moore - Organizational theorist, management consultant and author.

"To prepare for the impact and capitalize on the opportunities introduced by the future of work, enterprises must revisit their internal organizational models and cultures, their external relationship models and commitments, and the IT systems needed to connect all parties together in a productive, responsive ecosystem. These next-generation systems of engagement will complement the current generation of systems of record, to create the enabling fabric of future work."

Peter O’Donnell - President and Chief Executive Officer, Unum UK

"Employee needs change constantly and rapidly, and organisations will need to adapt their whole well-being approach, including their benefits packages, in response to these changes. The workplace of the future is going to be increasingly people-centric, and organisations competing for talent will need to respond by being more supportive of their staff than ever before."

Michael White - Chairman, President and CEO, The Directv Group Inc

“Let’s face it. There are 80 million Baby Boomers who are going to retire over the next five to seven years, and they’re going to be replaced by 40 million Generation Xers. That’s two to one, so you’d better be developing your next generation now if you’re going to be ready for that transition."

Arnoud De Meyer - President, Singapore Management University

“The percentage of lower-skilled jobs around the world has actually remained more or less the same... It is jobs which require medium skills, and are relatively repetitive, that are being hit. These include jobs such as accountants and stock analysts."

"The jobs that will survive this shake-up are roles which involve caring for people, such as physical therapists and clergy. These jobs involve not just physical care, but also taking mental care of people... This is very difficult to automate."

Tim Bray - an active participant in the IETF and technology industry veteran.

“It seems inevitable to me that the proportion of the population that needs to engage in traditional full-time employment, in order to keep us fed, supplied, healthy, and safe, will decrease. I hope this leads to a humane restructuring of the general social contract around employment."

Jonathan Grudin - Principal Researcher for Microsoft Research

“Technology will continue to disrupt jobs, but more jobs seem likely to be created. When the world population was a few hundred million people there were hundreds of millions of jobs. Although there have always been unemployed people, when we reached a few billion people there were billions of jobs. There is no shortage of things that need to be done and that will not change."

Bob Frankston - an Internet pioneer and technology innovator.

“We’ll need to evolve the concept of a job as a means of wealth distribution as we did in response to the invention of the sewing machine displacing seamstressing as welfare."

Hal Varian - Chief Economist for Google

“I envision a future with fewer ‘jobs’ but a more equitable distribution of labor and leisure time. If ‘displace more jobs’ means ‘eliminate dull, repetitive, and unpleasant work,’ the answer would be yes. How unhappy are you that your dishwasher has replaced washing dishes by hand, your washing machine has displaced washing clothes by hand, or your vacuum cleaner has replaced hand cleaning? My guess is this ‘job displacement’ has been very welcome, as will the ‘job displacement’ that will occur over the next 10 years. The work week has fallen from 70 hours a week to about 37 hours now, and I expect that it will continue to fall. This is a good thing. Everyone wants more jobs and less work. Robots of various forms will result in less work, but the conventional work week will decrease, so there will be the same number of jobs (adjusted for demographics, of course). This is what has been going on for the last 300 years so I see no reason that it will stop in the decade."


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