One of the most common questions asked of new job seekers is “But where do you see yourself in 10 years?” Well, perhaps it would be more accurate to ask … “But where do you see yourself sitting in 10 years?” Indeed, one of the most important aspects of the fourth industrial revolution is the dematerialization of the physical workplace. And we are not talking about its loss, but rather its “liquidity” to call it in more current jargon. Indeed, if the term “liquid” fits well with what we are experiencing at this particular time, what can we expect in the very near future? Extremising the transitions, from the traditional (rigidly closed) office we have moved to the more collaborative open space, to the delocalized smart working. A report produced by a well-known multinational company in the office printing industry tries to seek some answers to these questions.
Paradigm shift: revolution in thinking
Future of Work is the title of a recent research study conducted by Ricoh and analyzing more than 200 reports, articles, blogs, and podcasts published worldwide. Available at this address is excellent food for thought and insight into not only the changes in roles and occupations that are required of workers, but rather the technologies that support them. Inside is striking for its “drama” a slide that we want to quote here and whose data are derived from World Economic Forum. The impact of new technologies will result in about 73 million jobs being eliminated and replaced worldwide in the next three years. Replacement that will logically occur in favor of machines and algorithms. According to forecasts over the same period, more than 133 million new jobs “should” be created (the conditional is a must).
Again according to the W.E.F., however, the occupation of these positions will be linked to the ability to express skills such as analytical thinking, innovation, creativity, originality, leadership and collaboration. As is easy to guess, only a profound revolution in educational institutions will enable young people to develop these skills. What is required is in fact now light years away from traditional notionalism. For their part, companies should intensify their search for candidates possessing these special characteristics as soon as possible. Booking the best students from colleges and universities, in the hope that they will later translate into versatile professionals, is mandatory. As Future of work points out, it will be the ability to approach this new philosophy of work that will determine the development of country systems, even more so than the technology employed itself.
Future of work: here comes Mixed Reality
The ultimate purpose of technology is to help man in his work and daily life. So what impact will technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have on traditional workplaces? Will it be possible to have a generation of production workers capable of working remotely within fully robotic factories? Increasingly sophisticated sensors and ultra-fast transmissions, of which 5G is just a starting point, how will they revolutionize the world of manufacturing? AR and VR are already being used in workplaces to provide assistance to maintenance workers and in training, especially in high-risk environments. However, these are technologies that are also easily transferable to the retail and service world. A case in point is Widiba Home with virtual counters serving customers or the OVS chain with fitting rooms where physical and digital experience meet for a better customer experience. Virtual stores in which to shop-not surprisingly, Amazon and Facebook are investing heavily in wearable devices-will be available very soon, effectively revolutionizingeCommerce as we know it. Training professionals who can approach these technologies will not only be necessary but also incredibly compelling.