POSTED 6 May 2019 - 09:30

How should the concept of labour be updated for the new economy?

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What key traits would be most critical for a future-ready workforce?
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Dileep Nair, Independent Director, Thakral Corporation Limited
21 May 2019 - 11:21

The concept of work is rapidly morphing. Many are going from traditional employment in a fixed place using skills learnt in institutions and honed over time, to an activity undertaken as an independent agent in a digitally-enabled economy and with skillsets that have to be refreshed from time to time. Some are even contextualising work as just one activity in a ''portfolio life'' that includes the other activities they find fulfilling.

To thrive in this evolving environment, one needs to have an open mindset that welcomes change and embraces new ideas. Nurturing an inquisitive and creative bent of mind is essential for spotting opportunities in such a changing landscape. One must rubbish the idea that ''you can't teach old dogs new tricks''. Learning new skills is a sine qua non to be part of a future-ready workforce. Ultimately, it's the responsibility of every individual to ditch old work habits, and be proactive and seize the opportunities to keep himself relevant.

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John Bittleston, Founder and Chair, Terrific Mentors International Pte Ltd
13 May 2019 - 09:59

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is on the brink of out-thinking human intelligence in any way that can be accurately codified, measured or defined. Where logic and reason determine an answer, AI will beat us. At present that does not extend to areas of nuanced feeling where our senses have been developed to sense pleasure, pain, fear, joy, love, hate and other subjective sensations. AI is not able to perceive relationships in the creative way that humans can. It is thought that it will be a long time before AI achieves this.

It is therefore essential that humans keep control of AI by commanding the areas it cannot. Future humans need greatly enhanced soft skills which must themselves be progressively developed to stay ahead of AI.

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Victor Mills, Chief Executive, Singapore International Chamber of Commerce
6 May 2019 - 09:57

Employers and employees should see their relationship as one of collaborative teamwork designed to achieve the desired output and commercial success. Because this relationship is more equal than the traditional boss/subordinate role, remuneration policies will need to change to be more equitable. That will require an attitudinal change among employers. Employees, too, are required to change their attitudes. They should not sit back and wait for the boss' instructions. They need to take ownership of their work by demonstrating initiative and, in so doing, become more engaged, productive and rewarded. Utopia? No, just common sense and a more equal society.

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Darren Webb, Managing Director, DCSG
6 May 2019 - 09:43

The concept of labour (including long service for the same employer; job for life) is now more closely matched to the consumption model we see in other sectors globally, such as housing - why buy and commit when you can rent and have more freedom. Therefore the challenge for employers is to stay relevant to tomorrow's employees. The concept of office perks, free food, chill-out areas, etc is not going to be enough. Even working from home will be considered a norm, not an exception. So employers will need to look further to secure talent, enabling and encouraging working from anywhere, freedom to work when you want and maybe even freedom to work for more than one employer at a time. This may seem radical now, but will the workforce of tomorrow think so?

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Dev Dhiman, MD, Southeast Asia and Emerging Markets, Experian
6 May 2019 - 09:41

The future of work is shifting to a skills-based and technology-enabled labour market, with collaboration and sustainable growth being key drivers in this new economy. The workforce of tomorrow will consist of people who are agile, resilient, adaptable, and right-skilled, leveraging a human-technology augmented approach that adds value and longevity to the business. At Experian, our investment in AI, machine learning, and automation has resulted in higher efficiency and greater productivity. We also understand that it's a two-way street and have always strived to foster an open, data-driven culture where employees feel a sense of empowerment and purpose to achieve more.

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Alice Bentinck, Co-Founder, Entrepreneur First
6 May 2019 - 09:39

The new economy will see the emergence of technology entrepreneurship as the 'default career path' for the world's most talented and ambitious individuals. This shift from writing cheques to writing code, now puts a means of production into the hands of individuals, giving them unprecedented power, driven by ever-growing scalability, scope and decreasing costs. As we enter an era where a large proportion of the world's most ambitious individuals will be founders, the Napoleon of the 21st century won't raise an army, they'll create a startup. Sufficiently talented and ambitious individuals must be given the opportunity to succeed on merit alone and be able to bring their innovations to market.

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Karl Hamann, CEO, Singapore | Asia, QBE
6 May 2019 - 09:31

The new economy has created new types of employment, including gig workers who contribute to the sharing economy through casual short-term or freelance contracts. The huge growth in the number of shared services today means that governments should be expecting larger portions of workers to be employed in this way, which could force us to consider how the safety net of employment laws can account for these people as well. With technological disruption now a mainstay across industries and posing a multitude of unprecedented changes, adaptability and thoroughness are needed to ensure that no worker - in any capacity of employment - falls through the cracks or gets left behind.

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