● Post-pandemic: Are Nigerians prepared for the future of work?

● Post-pandemic: Are Nigerians prepared for the future of work?

Covid-19 has berthed the new regular and what is essentially seen as disruption in the method of doing issues whether or not in the social and household life and the office. This disruption has nonetheless been extra pronounced in the office. Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf on this report raises posers about Nigeria’s preparedness in the rising world of work in a quick altering world


WORLD over, persons are confronted with the actuality of the new regular and have since internalised the adjustments, no due to the ravaging coronavirus pandemic. In the view of specialists, COVID-19 has introduced an surprising disaster that has affected companies; nonetheless it has additionally led to new concepts and new methods of getting jobs performed simply as it has led to adjustments in the world of work. For employers notably, the pandemic has turn into a key part of their hiring resolution amongst different issues.

Changing roles, rising champions

Wale Adio (not actual identify) earlier than the pandemic was an Admin Clerk in a juice manufacturing firm in Lagos. But as quickly as the pandemic struck, he was amongst the first units of staffers requested to proceed on obligatory depart by the administration whereas the majority of different employees in the manufacturing arm of the firm had been not solely requested to stay however received hefty perks as half of incentives for work.

This foregoing anecdote turns into apposite in describing the altering world of work the place technology-driven abilities set would be the order of the day. Although Nigerians are typically described as laggards when it involves adapting to alter, investigation by our correspondent nonetheless revealed that many employers are proving bookmakers unsuitable about adjusting to the new regular.

A living proof is an outdated technology financial institution which not too long ago put up job vacancies and was on the lookout for candidates with abilities units with give attention to know-how studying amongst different conditions.

Jobs for tomorrow

In a current report tagged: ‘The Jobs of Tomorrow’ by Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum and Head of the Forum’s Centre for The New Economy and Society, she mentioned, some jobs will disappear and others will emerge as the world faces a twin disruption.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report2020 comes at a vital juncture for the world of work. The report, now in its third version, maps the jobs and abilities of the future, monitoring the tempo of change based mostly on surveys of enterprise leaders and human useful resource strategists from round the world. The report goals to make clear the impact of pandemic-related disruptions positioned in the broader context of longer-term know-how traits.

According to the report, there are 5 factors to ponder so far as the rising world of work is anxious.

Specifically, the report says the workforce is automating sooner than anticipated, displacing 85 million jobs in the subsequent 5 years. “Automation, in tandem with the COVID-19 recession, is creating a “double-disruption” state of affairs for employees. Companies’ adoption of know-how will transforms duties, jobs, and abilities by 2025. Some 43 p.c of companies surveyed point out that they’re set to cut back their workforce as a result of of know-how integration, 41 p.c plan to increase their use of contractors for task-specialised work, and 34 p.c plan to increase their workforce because of this of know-how integration. Five years from now, employers will divide work between people and machines roughly equally.”

Besides, the report notes that the robotic revolution will create 97 million new jobs. As the financial system and job markets evolve, new roles will emerge throughout the care financial system in know-how fields corresponding to synthetic intelligence—AI and in content material creation careers corresponding to social media administration and content material writing. The rising professions reflect the larger demand for inexperienced financial system jobs; roles at the forefront of the knowledge and AI financial system; and new roles in engineering, cloud computing, and product improvement. The up-and-coming jobs spotlight the persevering with significance of human interplay in the new financial system by means of roles in the care financial system; in advertising and marketing, gross sales, and content material manufacturing; and in roles that depend upon the means to work with differing types of individuals from completely different backgrounds.

Looking into the future, the report says, in 2025, analytical pondering, creativity, and flexibility will be amongst the most sought-after abilities as employers will see crucial pondering, evaluation, and downside fixing as rising in significance in the coming years, though these have constantly been cited in earlier editions of the survey. Newly rising this yr are abilities in self-management, corresponding to energetic studying, resilience, stress tolerance, and flexibility. The knowledge accessible by means of metrics partnerships with LinkedIn and Coursera allowed the researchers to trace the varieties of specialised abilities wanted for the jobs of tomorrow.

Still, the report says, the best companies will give attention to upgrading their employees’ abilities. “For workers set to remain in their roles over the next five years, nearly half will need retraining for their core skills. The survey also found that the public sector needs to provide stronger support for reskilling and upskilling of at-risk or displaced workers.”

More specialists’ views

In a current baseline research undertaken by Sabina Dewan and Ekkehard Ernst and shared on the International Monetary Fund web site, tagged: ‘Rethinking the World of Work’, the duo famous matter-of-factly that the pandemic is accelerating a shift in direction of extra casual and precarious work. With tens of millions of jobs misplaced, robots on the rise, and white-collar employees toiling largely at residence, COVID-19 seems to have ushered in a brand new regular in the international office. But many of these developments stem from failed coverage responses to megatrends already in movement lengthy earlier than the pandemic struck.

For not less than 20 years, shifting demographics and technological upheaval have been upending labour markets, exacerbating inequality, making jobs more and more precarious, and deepening financial insecurity. The new regular, in different phrases, isn’t actually new.

A lethal virus has merely accelerated the tempo of change, with devastating penalties—particularly for creating economies, that are anticipated to lose not less than $220 billion in revenue, in keeping with the United Nations Development Programme.

Reporting on the survey, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) discovered that 17 p.c of beforehand employed individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 stopped working after the pandemic hit, and 42 p.c reported a drop in revenue. In the absence of pathways to productive and high-quality employment, creating economies that pin their financial ambitions on a demographic benefit are setting themselves up for disappointment.

The specialists nonetheless note that there’s something to cheer about for nations with surging youth’s inhabitants not like superior economies, together with: Germany, Japan, and the United States—struggling with getting old populations in addition to some rising market economies, together with China.

“But in a majority of developing economies, the youth population is swelling. Some of these countries, such as India, Indonesia, and Nigeria, will approach the peak of their demographic bulge during the next two decades, while smaller countries, such as Angola and Zambia, are in earlier stages of the demographic transition. A youth bulge presents an advantage only if economies can create productive jobs with rising wages.”

Hope rising for Nigeria

In the view of Dr. Timothy Olawale, Director-General, Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), with the pandemic, it has turn into clearer that organisations should be extra agile, versatile, dynamic and responsive to alter.

“The disruptions created by the pandemic will be with us for quite a long time, thus, forward looking organisations are already adjusting their processes and systems in order not to only reduce the impact of the fast-changing work environment but to also maximise the opportunities inherent in the disruption,” he deadpans.

While nothing that no organisation globally can declare to be prepared as a result of change is fixed and technological innovation will proceed, the NECA boss was nonetheless fast so as to add that “Recent events have shown that Nigerian organisations are adjusting to the realities of a changing world of work, post-pandemic. Many have imbibed and instituted various forms of work schedules, invested in technology and automation and changed their processes to enable them function effectively in view of the changing workplace dynamics.”

To stay aggressive and sustainable and to take part in the rising international market, post-pandemic, all organisation must modify and hold tempo with these fast-paced adjustments – and Nigerian companies are not taking the again seat, he careworn.

Expectations from employers

In a analysis venture titled, ‘The Future of Work’ by Sir Dr. Chinedu Odebeatu, he acknowledged that the emergence of theCovid-19 pandemic in the first quarter of the yr 2020 has delivered a impolite awakening to the entire world notably the ‘work’ surroundings throughout the world.

While noting that the work surroundings of some first world nations like the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, Singapore, South Korea, China and Japan might not have been too taken unexpectedly since they’re not solely accountable for innovating and absolutely embracing the web and the world large net, however many of them have since began exploring synthetic intelligence to see how they will be used to interchange human beings in workplaces, many work environments of third nations like Nigeria have constantly remained on the peripherals barely accessing the huge potentials and alternatives made accessible by the web and the world large net.

Citing Upwork- Future of Work Report, Odebeatu, who additionally doubles as Business Development Manager, First Bank of Nigeria, Nnewi BDO, careworn that hiring managers expect 168% improve in the quantity of work performed by the versatile expertise in 10 years. “Managers are aware that it isn’t just how many hours you sit in a chair, but how much you produce. There is no longer a need for most employees to work from an office or to work 9-5. Unilever is doing a great job of this where they are rolling out this concept of (what they call) “agile work” to their 175,000+ staff round the world. MTN alongside with many company organisations in Nigeria labored from residence throughout the lockdown ensuing from the Covid-19 pandemic,” he recalled.

Another fantasy shattered by COVID-19, Odebeatu noticed, is the demystification of management in the office.

According to him, not like what obtains in the previous, lately, particularly throughout the early days of the pandemic, “Any employee that is able to build a following with the content they share internally is capable of being a leader; something which was not possible before especially not at the scale that collaboration platforms allow today. Think of how many people have become leaders as a result of social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or Facebook, now employees can do the same inside of their companies. Think about the power of the influencer’s voice on social media platforms, like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. Imagine having that same voice with millions of followership inside a company? The advantages are enormous.”

Downsides of the future of work

While noting that the future of work clearly gives quite a few benefits for the world of work, particularly for excessive expert specialists and the teeming younger inhabitants in Africa and different creating world, and for curbing the enormous prices of operating and sustaining overloaded and bloated public and personal sector workforce, Odebeatu maintained that the future of work nonetheless has its challenges particularly for taking part employees in third world and creating nations for whom, environment friendly and steady infrastructure is essentially elusive.

Specifically, he mentioned, “Basic public amenities and services like free internet supply, cost of technological tools and devices which are unaffordable due to high poverty levels, the challenge of international payments, perception of Africans, especially Nigerians as fraudulent, which deprives many of job prospects and finally, the lack of consistent power supply are lacking.”

Such challenges, he famous, “Put freelancers at a disadvantage as they are unable to effectively compete, not being able to meet deadlines, or are forced to do so with alternative sources of power at exorbitant costs which affect the returns they earn from the jobs.”

Also writing on the altering world of work, Arun Sundararajan, a professor at the Stern School of Business, New York University, and creator of The Sharing Economy: The End of Employment and the Rise of Crowd-Based Capitalism, noticed that, “The confluence of two digital forces will dramatically reshape tomorrow’s workplace, leading to a sharp reduction in the traditional employer-employee relationship. New platforms allow economic activity to be organised in ways that shift much of what was traditionally accomplished by full-time workers within an organisation to a crowd of individual entrepreneurs and on-demand workers. The result is an economy that increasingly relies on short-term freelance relationships rather than on full-time employment.”

She nonetheless concludes by saying that the challenges going through as we speak’s millennial workforce appear fairly daunting. “If society plays its cards right, tomorrow may offer a better place.”

‘Nigeria not ready for the future of work…but’

Thelma Ibeh is Head HR, Future Moves Recruitment Agency Limited, a full-fledged human useful resource agency with experience and expertise in human capital improvement and staffing. In this interview with Ibrahim Apekhade Yusuf, she speaks on the future of work post pandemic. Excerpts:

Do you assume Nigeria is prepared for the future of work?

Honestly this may be answered in two methods. Nigeria as a nation is not prepared for the Future of work, nonetheless firms, SMEs and so forth., are making efforts to organize however when there’s no leverage for these firms the preparation turns into unimaginable. It is not information that synthetic intelligence is the driving drive of the fourth industrial revolution. The international financial returns anticipated from this revolution is about $16 trillion and as it stands, no African nation is amongst the prime 10 nations with the highest stage of profit on this financial return, what does this imply for us?

The demand for extremely expert employees has elevated whereas the demand for employees with much less training and decrease abilities has decreased. So it is pure to imagine that the much less expert Nigerian drive who’ve low literacy charges and are clearly in excessive numbers with nice limitations to buying high quality abilities and training will endure vastly, therefore we have now an extended technique to go.

What are the realities most employers in Nigeria ought to look ahead to?

Employers throughout the nation have been tasked with remodeling their bodily workplaces, rethinking their buyer expertise and ramping up their digital capabilities for a future that’s nonetheless in query marks.  According to Delloite, the driving forces of large knowledge, the Internet of Things, and the rising quantity of Generation X people in management positions have led to the rise of exponential applied sciences and data-driven organisations”. Organisations that may seize the potential worth unlocked by know-how and knowledge’s unprecedented availability are anticipated to outpace their friends.

Remote work is one thing that has come to remain; employers should begin embracing this and tweaking their fashions to accommodate this. However this has been pissed off by the circumstances past their management in a rustic like ours. Take for an instance an worker is required to work at home, there’s no energy: they search another which is a generator, taking a look at the value of gasoline, electrical energy tariff, web providers and so forth. It’s extraordinarily costly to have staff work remotely particularly the place 70% of companies in Nigeria are SMEs who battle to run and hold their companies. The actuality may be extra onerous occasions for companies.

What are employers’ expectations from outdated and new recruits?

These days, employers look for abilities past the ‘academic qualifications’ of candidates. Many of them believe that tutorial {qualifications} and expertise are one thing that may simply be discovered however the proper mixture of traits that assist an organization generate income or lower your expenses, are onerous to search out.

Employers need individuals who can take initiative and individuals having the motivation to perform duties on their very own. Employees or candidates want to point out that they’re prepared, ready, and prepared to get issues performed with out being requested.

Besides, employers need staff who’ve a optimistic angle. Many employers believe that having a optimistic angle is extra vital than the data an worker brings to the desk. If you’re a optimistic individual, you’re always trying for new concepts that yield increased productiveness ranges.

Entrepreneurial spirit is changing into a key sought ability.  The essence of the entrepreneurial angle is that you’ll be able to anticipate change and formulate revolutionary responses to alter that will lead to success.

Of course, nothing can stand in the method of somebody who’s results-oriented. Results-oriented people are centered on making issues occur irrespective of the challenges or highway blocks.  You should know easy methods to meet deadlines, and ship worth to the organisation. This is simply as having a want for continuous studying allows staff to extend the contribution they make to the firm. And there are a lot of extra expectations however these few are key.

What are the new set abilities most sought for now and in the distant future?

Last yr, cloud computing, synthetic intelligence, and analytical reasoning led international listing of the most in-demand onerous abilities, whereas these abilities nonetheless prime the chart. Of course, you even have so as to add a optimistic angle, good communication, and teamwork abilities are the prime three most valued delicate abilities by employers in current occasions. Empathy and emotional intelligence are two extraordinarily helpful skills too, enabling robust, productive relationships. Within knowledgeable surroundings, these two attributes will decide the high quality of your interactions with your colleagues, your supervisors and your purchasers: they’re the direct reflection of your human qualities, which will be in a position to deliver an actual aggressive benefit to the improvement of consumer relationships.

Again, as new applied sciences are developed based mostly on knowledge and Artificial Intelligence, the means to hypothesise and resolve advanced issues has grown: this has already led many professionals to work with advanced ecosystems the place digital and human elements are mixed.

What would decide employability for new recruits?

The nationwide job progress, recessions, technological advances and automation is clearly affecting employment charges. Looking for a job when companies are barely surviving makes it troublesome to get one. For occasion, the financial scenario is poor and nationwide unemployment charges are excessive, it might be simpler for firms to retain their staff since different job alternatives are restricted.

Certain industries beforehand requiring individuals to work on manufacturing unit traces might now be ready to make use of computer-operated machines as an alternative of staff. This might considerably lower the quantity of staff wanted in an organization’s workforce.

What this implies is that new recruits should have distinctive abilities with confirmed outcomes and a optimistic angle to get a chance in a time like this.

Do you see extra individuals staying of their job or getting thrown into the job market?

People who know what they’re doing are literally being sought for, your throwing out relies in your worth, for many 2020 and 2021 is trying actually good. Quite a bit has a number of presents ready for them, while you don’t transfer quick, you get thrown out! So sure so much are thrown into the job market or lack of innovation, worth, resistance to alter and not being trainable. In the final six months I’ve employed programmers, video editors, graphics designers, digital entrepreneurs, content material creators, and so forth., than many different jobs which in most organisations has lowered the quantity of staff they should do a specific job.  Also following the financial scenario in Nigeria, by default, many will be thrown out as companies are struggling to outlive on account of nationwide points past their management.

What is your recommendation to potential staff?

Well I’d say firstly be prepared for the market. It’s a spot of uncertainty; ardour might not pay your payments right now. Don’t always observe your ardour.  If you research individuals who find yourself loving their work and changing into specialists, most of them did not observe a pre-existing ardour. Learn any ability accessible to you; your ardour will develop from the belongings you check out. Have as many ardour as doable, LOL.

Secondly, begin wherever! The worst that may occur to anybody is staying idle at this crucial time when abilities wanted for work are quickly growing and even these working aren’t assembly up how way more somebody who’s doing nothing. Take that job irrespective of how small, you may solely check your means and showcase your abilities if you end up on the market! Only then can somebody see your work. Jump the prepare first and steadily many alternatives will be open to you.



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