The future of work in a post COVID-19 World: Part 2

The future of work in a post-COVID-19 world is looking vastly different to our take on the future of work, pre-COVID. Right?

Recently, in Part 1 of our review of the future of work post-COVID-19, we looked at some of the major issues likely to impact the future of work, post-pandemic. This included:

  1. The rise of remote working (and how it’s likely to remain more widely than the pre-COVID-19 era)
  2. The increasing meritocracy of worker output on the back of remote working
  3. The role of contingent workers during the pandemic both how valuable they’re proving to be for many organisations, and the increased acceptance of these workers as integral to the organisation’s strategy.

Today, we’re taking a different tack. We’ve reviewed the likely downsides of the future of work, post-COVID-19. And it will come as no surprise, a sobering reality awaits.

Also, we’ve taken to better understanding how organisations are making big changes to their operations, given the at-times enforcement of digitisation of their operations.

We didn’t see any of these realities back in January when we were writing about the future of work.  Amazing how much has changed…

downside of COVID-19

The Downside of Work Post-COVID-19

There are some bleak realities at play in the current employment environment, particularly so for certain categories of workers, like those in hospitality, retail and other service jobs and industries.

It’s a tough time.

But as restrictions slowly get lifted, the expectation that these conditions will ease may not become a reality as quickly as we’d hope.

Let’s look at some of the worst of it. In Australia:

  • The expectation of entrenched unemployment is a reality, on the back of two months of pandemic-induced worker isolation and economic decline. The prediction is an unemployment rate of 10% or more, for at least half a decade
  • It’s expected thousands of businesses will not operate at a profit again in key sectors. These include retail, manufacturing, hospitality, marketing, advertising, financial services
  • Contractors, sole traders, small-business people now in the midst of unexpected financial disaster are expected to reject entrepreneurship and its associated risk-taking as we look ahead. Rather than investing in themselves (in equipment, education, additional worker support for example), servicing debt is the priority

Unemployment is expected to top 10% in the June quarter and forecasts have been revised up.

Forecasts of Australia’s unemployment rate in June quarter 2020

graph showing forecast of unemployment rates

Understandably, the levels of caution in the current situation are high, optimism low.

We’re in the midst of an economic and employment transformation, not even the Government is able to confidently advise how to navigate.

Australia will emerge from the crisis with record debt, estimated at over $500 billion, and a potential under-employment rate as high as 15%.

ACS, Information Age.

But there are upsides, albeit, comparatively thin.

There are sectors still hiring. These include retail (supermarket), supply chain (mostly related to online retail shopping), transportation, Government (the NSW government is currently hiring 1,000 people), healthcare, amongst a few others. We have also seen an uptick in the use of contingent workers, especially in relation to digitisation and technology.

LinkedIn Hiring: Year on Year

Australian sectors still hiring throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

graph showing sectors still hiring

Source: LinkedIn Economic Graph Research & Insights

So, as we look to the future of work from our current position, many industries and organisations will be in survival mode.

I’ll reiterate again, as I have before, that we see an opportunity here.

And that opportunity is this:  with uncertainty and a lack of clarity about the future of work or the future of your organisation, the utilisation of contingent workers is a potential ‘out’ for organisations in survival mode. Keeping overheads down, with workers engaged remotely on tenure-limited projects, may just be the antidote your business needs at this time.

future of work post COVID

Digitisation Fast Track

The next post-COVID-19 future of work shift we’ll see is the transformation organisations will experience, of digitisation. Not only the impact on the future of work but how organisations will arrive there is also worth noting.

So…where’s your business at with digital transformation? What’s that? Did you say you’re kind of behind?

If this is the case, you’re likely one of the many organisations who have had to rethink their operations from every angle, just to simply keep afloat during the coronavirus crisis. We’ve seen many organisations in Australia and across the globe, suddenly realise that their processes, operations and the very fundamentals of how they do business, be reassessed and drastically upgraded.

Now, more than ever is the time to get your business on track to a fully digitised entity (suitable for your industry). And to this end, contract workers are a worthy solution.

Engaging specialist talent, with unique technology and program roll-out expertise to help bring the digitised era of 2020 into your operations has never been more relevant, or more laden with opportunity.

It could also save your organisation in the long-term. There’s going to be a commercial, financial or economic hit for everyone, on the back of this crisis. And yes, digitisation comes at a cost. But without moving forward towards a more seamless and better functioning operation, the chances of your organisation failing terminally are much higher.

There are multiple opportunities where a short-term, contingent workforce can fast-track the digitisation of your business. From supply chain operations to your technology stack, digitising your marketing events to leveraging cloud services. The opportunities are many. And contingent workers are a potentially potent means for getting there sooner.

So this impact is both current-state – where the digital transformation of the organisation is afoot, using the successful deployment of contingent workers. But also future-state, in the post-COVID-19 world, where changing skills are required for operations to continue successfully is on the cards.

Right now, for your organisation to survive you’ll need to consider, understand and take action on your digital transformation. And in doing so, there are key technologies to be aware of, currently on the rise. These include:

  1. Mobile app development
  2. Cloud certification
  3. Project management and agile
  4. DevOps
  5. Artificial intelligence / machine learning
  6. Edge computing
  7. Augmented / virtual reality
  8. RPA (robotic process automation)
  9. Blockchain
  10. Cybersecurity
  11. Responsive web application design and development

Source: ACS Information Age

No surprise that during this crisis, this meme has taken a viral audience with glee:

Future of work post COVID

The headline is:  the COVID-19 crisis is in the process of successfully driving greater and better digital transformation than many CEOs or CIOs have, in the past, been able to deliver.

So in a post-COVID world, you’ve got the opportunity to improve your operations via digital transformation.

Right now, planning for the skills shift to meet the technologies of that transformation is well-advised. What we can see in the future of work post-COVID is not only new ways of working (remote being the biggest) but new skills as well.

Our third and final instalment of this series will be available via this month’s eBook. Complete the form below to get early bird access.

As one of the world’s leading providers of contingent worker management solutions, CXC is well positioned to optimise all elements of your contingent workforce strategy. With operations in more than 50 countries across five continents and decades of experience, we can assist with every aspect of your program.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help please contact us here.