Future of Work

Future of WorkThe future of work is being designed right now and all of us are playing a part. There are many factors that are influencing these changes. These factors include disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Aside from technology, there are social and demographic factors influencing how work, workers and workplaces are changing and responding to our needs. One example of an environmental factor that has caused significant changes, is the Coronavirus outbreak. This pandemic has accelerated many of the anticipated changes. So things, like remote work, that we may have thought were impossible or way down the road, are now here.

Students and professionals must know that these changes are not to be feared. Instead, we all have to become more agile and prepare for the changes. This will be hard for many people. We feel deeply for the millions of workers who have been displaced by the pandemic and are unable to earn a living at this time. We know too that many of the jobs lost because of the pandemic will be lost forever. These workers will have to find new ways to sustain themselves and their families.

These changes will require that all of us keep learning and adding new skills. At the same time, we have to be shedding skills that are no longer current or relevant.

Right now there are many professionals in college career centers, human resources and workforce development having conversations about how these changes will impact us. Many organizations, like The HBCU Career Center are helping to prepare professionals to participate in the new kind of economies that will emerge.

Researching the Future

Research suggests that some demographic groups have always lagged behind others in the adoption of new technologies and when work changes. The reason for that is that not everyone becomes aware about the changes or adopt new skills at the same pace.  Some people may be left behind with these changes. One of our goals at The HBCU Career Center is to ensure that the HBCU community stays aware and involved in technology changes that are driving workforce changes.

Our goal is to ensure that HBCU career center programs are focused on the emerging job skills needed for career success today and in the future of work.

Since we know that HBCU students and alumni are often very creative and innovative, this is an exciting time to solve problems using the emerging technologies.

Key Definitions

  • Algorithm-Based-Hiring (ABH):  This is a term I developed through my research. It describes the process of using artificial intelligence through algorithms, to automate certain aspects of decision-making in the hiring process.
  • Gig Economy: The gig economy is the concept of short term jobs and projects everywhere and all the time.  Forbes.com reports that 57 million Americans (36 % of the workforce) was earning money in the gig economy before the pandemic.  See the list below of popular gig opportunities that you can pretty much do from a college dorm room.
  • Future of Work: Deloitte says that the future of work is being shaped by two powerful forces. First, the growing adoption of artificial intelligence in the workplace, and 2) the workforce that includes “both on-and off-balance-sheet talent.” Off balance sheet talent means workers, freelancers or gig employees.  You should learn more about the Gig Economy.
  • Recruiting Bots:  HR and recruiting professionals are using bots (robots) in the recruiting and hiring process.  Essentially, these are artificial intelligence tools like your iPhone Siri or Amazon Alexa that can sift through a lot of information very quickly.  Here are 5 Ways that Recruiters are Using Artificial Intelligence in Hiring.
  • Knowledge Work Automation: The use of computers to perform tasks currently being done by middle to high skilled employees that rely on complex analyses, subtle judgments, and creative problem solving.  This is work that is typically considered as only being able to be completed by humans (McKinsey, 2013). 

Career Ready Skills for the Future of Work

Employers always remind us of the Career Readiness Competencies that they want in new hires.  Here are the ratings on the importance of job skills (out of 5) from the employers in 2019. In preparation for future careers, all of us should be looking at how we are building and using these skills.

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving – 4.7
  • Teamwork/Collaboration – 4.5
  • Professionalism/Work Ethic – 4.4
  • Oral/Written Communications – 4.3
  • Digital Technology – 3.8
  • Leadership – 3.7
  • Career Management – 3.4
  • Global/Multicultural Fluency – 2.8

Automation and the Future of Work

These article show how automation is going to impact the future of work.

Earn Gig Economy Money

If you want to dabble in the gig economy as a way to start exploring the future of work, there are many job sites that list these opportunities. These are just a few:

These opportunities to earn money through the gig economy could definitely benefit students on college campuses. These could really benefit students or workers in remote locations where local brick and mortar jobs may be scarce. As you think about changes, you might not only want to work in the gig economy, but you may want to brainstorm ideas of problems you can solve in the gig economy. Who knows? You could start a business based on a need you observe as the future of work evolves.


Earn Gig Economy Money

The list of opportunities to earn money in the gig economy could benefit students on college campuses in remote locations where local brick and mortar jobs may be scarce.  You might not only want to work in the gig economy, you may want to brainstorm ideas of problems you can solve in the gig economy and start a business.

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