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The Changing Work Paradigm

Updated on January 13, 2019
Mahmood Anwar profile image

Mahmood is a corporate executive with a decade's exposure in Finance/Audit. He is also a freelance writer who likes to share his thoughts.

The work paradigm is definitely changing but the good part is that its creating more convenience for everyone.

The new workstyle

Introduction

According to a research in 2011, children entering pre-school will be working on 65% of jobs that haven't been invented yet. That is a chilling fact and makes one wonder how prepared we are to meet new challenges. Traditional jobs are being challenged like never before but the majority are still lagging behind in the skills race. The typewriter industry never anticipated the level of disruption caused by the advent of personal computer. The result became its extinction. The simultaneous rise of blockchain and artificial intelligence have opened new forums of discussion and the pace of change is simply unrelenting.

The outdated notion of 'fixed job'

Since childhood, we have been brought up on the notion of a stable job and following modern lifestyle. Many families ascribe these expectations to a government job where pay is lower but long-term and associated benefits are immense. The more adventurous/growth oriented individuals opt for private jobs and our society is replete with their success stories. You often hear people saying look at him/her and the success he/she has enjoyed through a brilliant career. Well, suffice to say that this notion is going to alter drastically and even by 2014, Edelman Berland reported survey results revealing that 34% of the US job force is comprised of freelancers.

The changing job scenario

By 2040, this change will have manifested completely into entrepreneurial, independent contracting and 'peer to peer' work platforms. However, social security or health benefit systems still revolve around the notion of stable jobs and most state entities charge the employer for this purpose. How will systems respond when the landscape is truly dominated by freelancers and artificial intelligence systems. The notions of job security, guaranteed taxes from salaried employees, traditional supply chain are all going to change. Governments have to start implementing policies that will drive innovation and skill development programs.

Adaptation by audit firms

A recent example I came across is adoption of drone technology by PWC-UK and just a couple of weeks earlier PWC had introduced blockchain auditing services. The concept of physical stock count has long remained a core part of the audit cycle but PWC proved that the same can be done through drone technology in a matter of minutes as compared to hours spent by humans. The subject was visual inspection of coal reserves and the results were of course remarkably accurate. PWC admitted this was just a trial run and that year-end stock count would be undertaken by a human auditor, while EY also remarked upon use of drone technology for similar purpose. The bottom-line is that in cases wherever technology has immense applications, humans will have to find other work.

Conclusion

The objective of this article is to raise awareness about the need for recognizing nature and pace of change and creating skills development programs that prepare us for the future. Government backed training programs are a starting point but there is much more to do and very little time.

This is the first part of a series of articles on the freelancing phenomenon and how the average person can benefit from it.

In 2014, 38% of US workforce was comprised of freelancers.

Mahmood has juggled a full-time job and freelancing for almost half of a decade long career. The financial freedom gained from this combo has certainly made life easier, while the nature of work itself has continuously enhanced communication skills.

© 2019 Mahmood Anwar

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