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Is your organisation ready for the future of work?

Disruptive tech and trends reshaping the workplace takes centre stage at SingularityU SA Summit

Johannesburg, South Africa -16 October 2019: The opportunities presented by the future of work allow us to reimagine and evolve the work we do, as well as workplaces and workforces. However, doing so requires mandates at the societal, organisational, and individual level. Work is being disconnected from jobs, jobs and work are being disconnected from companies, and companies are increasingly becoming platforms.

This is according to Deloitte Africa’s Chief Digital and Innovation Officer Valter Adão, who will be speaking on the topic “Rethinking the Future of work” at the SingularityU South Africa Summit at the Kyalami conference centre on 16 and 17 October 2019.

“The future of work is often seen, incorrectly, as people versus machines,” says Adão. “The reality is more nuanced and positive. Technology alone can’t do it. It takes humans with machines working together in a designed system. When human achievement can be enhanced through collaboration with the machines we invent, there is an opportunity to excel,” he adds.

Spanning six years around a joint mission to leverage collective capabilities to tackle some of the world’s biggest challenges, Deloitte’s strategic alliance with Singularity University (SingularityU) aims to help business leaders future-proof their organisations by preparing for what’s coming next as well as overcoming the challenges and seizing the opportunities presented by the fourth industrial revolution.

To this end, Deloitte Africa has identified three of the summit’s eight grand challenges that need to be addressed in order for businesses and our economy to thrive in the new digital reality: education, energy and employment.

“The focus on learning and education should extend to marginalised populations, across all age groups, from children to older generations, who want to transition into the new workforce,” says Adão, “In addition, incentives could be designed to support this approach to lifelong education by facilitating access to ongoing education and training throughout a working career that will exceed 50 years and many different types of work.”

Conservatively, knowledge is decaying at a rate of 30% per year. Individuals embarking upon a 30-year career would have to update and refresh their skills consistently throughout their careers. Ecosystems should be ready to rethink through education and establish a framework to help everyone develop their talent more rapidly with the vision being their personal and professional development, which potentially translates to relevance to the job market.

Adão says that not only is the worker going off-campus and off-balance sheet, but the work is also becoming increasingly augmented by technology, which frees up greater capacity for higher-order cognitive tasks. Further research suggests there will be an increase of well-paid, new jobs that will require a high degree of social skills which “essentially are human” in nature.

“Therefore, we anticipate a movement toward a ‘STEMpathetic’ workforce—one that comingles technical knowledge and cognitive social skills, such as connecting with other people and communicating effectively.”

Adão says Deloitte is optimistic about the future, “While these shifts will likely bring challenges as the workforce transitions, they could evolve workforces to create and capture more value by reinventing work through essentially human learning and discovery.”

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