What does the Future of work in NZ look like?
How we work in NZ is changing, rapidly! No longer do we have the job for life. The career for life is evaporating. We are being asked to reskill or upskill and pivot our career once, twice, perhaps even more during our working life.
Rapid advances in technology have seen many low skilled job in New Zealand become obsolete through mechanical automation.
We are now seeing a new wave of jobs being automated, this time around they are highly skilled jobs. Software automation, scripting, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics are combining to complete work tasks, jobs and functions which previously were carried out by highly skilled professionals. The acting of doing a functional task is being replaced by computer programmes. The future of work is not in the doing, but controlling the systems which do the work.
Nearly 14% of jobs in OECD countries are likely to be automated, while another 32% are at high risk of being partially automated – so nearly 1 in 2 people is likely to be affected in some way.
The rise of gig economy has seen a shift in how and where we work, whilst more work is still needed on protecting workers ensuring gig work is a choice not a requirement.
Digital platforms bringing together workers and businesses. These bring huge convenience to both buyers and sellers equally. Gigexchange.com is a digital marketplace for the future of work in New Zealand. It has combined the freelancer gig economy, together with a conventional jobsite platform, volunteering placements and business advertisements. The digital convenience a platform such as gigexchange brings to the future of work is choice and flexibility. Which is what NZ business and New Zealand workers are asking for. The choice of flexibility to choose between freelancer gig work or conventional permanent or contract jobs. These digital platforms then use big data analytics to interpret trending and changing behaviours in the future of work and new ways of working to ensure they offer work services being demanded of them.
There are challenges with the new ways of working, especially the trend towards short term contracts or freelance gig work in NZ. These bring loss of job security, but reward with flexibility and usually increased pay. The challenge is then with the gig worker to ensure they always have suitable new work lined up before their current gig work or freelance work ends.
Digital work platforms have only accelerated Globalisation of work – many jobs can be done remotely via these platforms. How do we ensure than western businesses do not exploit situations so they only employer workers from poorer nations. This is a win for the business, but only works to drive down wages in their local work market.
Local governments face challenges with aging workforce and ensuring their skills and productivity can still add value to businesses as we rapidly change how we work.
Educational institutions from schools to Universities have a growing responsibility to keep up with future of work skills and trends. Educating and training our future workforce of NZ with the relevant skills required now, but also studying and forecasting future skills to be ahead of the game. Governments and businesses that investigate future of work trends now, will reap the rewards in the near future.
How do things look for NZ labour market and the new ways of working in the future of work?
New Zealand has roughly 500,000 businesses registered. 97% of these are small businesses employing 20 or less employees. These Small Businesses only make up 30% of New Zealands GDP. The remaining 3% of NZ businesses employ 70% of the workforce and 70% of NZ’s GDP. The majority of these are non-NZ Multi-National Enterprises.
We are beginning to see a shift in agile methodologies within Business Corporates. Historically, this was popular within software development industries. Using the Sprint or Kanban philosophies to plan, scope, measure and record completion of work tasks. Increasingly, we are seeing large corporates introduce Agile into other areas of IT, namely infrastructure with varying success. Best practises and learnings are still ongoing with how to optimise the Agile approach to Corporates and large organisations. But the principles behind Agile methodologies are based around measuring outcomes and understanding teams and departments purpose within the business. This is a significant shift in thinking for many. This is where the gig economy, previously for low skilled or freelance and contractors only, is now blending into the conventional jobs market. Permanent workers are now having their work measured upon small chunks of work and its successful flow to completion. Slowly we are seeing the new ways of working morphing into outcome based work, automated tasks and smarter working.
Times are certainly changing, we must not be fearful of change. Many jobs and tasks will be replaced by computer programs and robots. But this will also introduce new opportunities. What we must be mindful of is how the future of work will impact my role, or business. By begin thinking and strategizing now, will enable future leaders.
What does the future hold?
How at risk are the small business jobs of automation or being replaced by robotics?
Is the destiny of New Zealand’s future of work in the hands of overseas businesses, who employ the majority of our workers?
The new ways of working are changing. No matter what skill we have, what job we work, we need to be mindful of how we may need to pivot our career in the future.
With change, always comes opportunities. New roles are being created to facilitate the future of work. Trends in software engineering, big data analysis, data presentation and reporting are becoming highly desirable skillsets for many businesses now and in the future.
Embrace the future. The future of work is coming, while we have our coffee breaks.