Future of jobs & work on TiEcon menu


Skills are currency and you can make money if you have skill, according to Karl Mehta, founder and CEO of EdCast, who will chair a panel track on “The Future of Work” at the TiEcon 2021 virtual conference to be held on May 6 through 8.

TiEcon is the annual showpiece entrepreneurship conference of TiE Silicon Valley.

Karl Mehta, founder and CEO of EdCast

In conversation with indica News, Mehta talked about how the ongoing “fourth Industrial Revolution” has been changing the three forces of work: The nature of work, workplace, workforce, and how the job roles are becoming irrelevant.

He said that in the last 100 years people used to think of roles, such as wanting to become chief marketing officer or market manager. Now, however, roles are not relevant anymore and companies and organizations are hiring for skills and not roles.

Today hiring is based on, for example, are you good at data science,” he added.

Mehta underlined the pervasiveness of technology.

In terms of digital transformation, in the past one year of the pandemic is something we haven’t seen in 10 years,” Mehta said, adding that companies are rapidly investing in technology tools to enable people to work.

These are all the big stuff that needs to get discussed and with the information disseminated to the audience. Everybody needs to think about their future and everyone is anxious about the changes around them but don’t know how to calibrate all this,” Mehta said.

So, our goal in these panels is to bring experts, track, and discuss these issues, understand all those challenges, and provide some kind of contour to a roadmap on how things will unfold,” said Mehta.

Pointing to the three aspects on the future of work, he said: “The disruption is happening in the nature of work itself and work as we know is changing, it’s not any more repetitive mechanical work.”

The second aspect is disruption at workplace. The whole dynamic on how do you work, how do you interact without seeing your colleagues and how do you collaborate with each other and how the work actually gets done is completely new with this work from anywhere era.

We are in the first year of this and people are still getting adjusted to it,” Mehta said. “There has been significant productivity loss. And there are many other implications and we have to anticipate change and then adapt to how we are going to address that.”

On the workforce aspect, he said: “So, currently we see the fourth generation in the workforce, from the baby boomers, millennials to Generation Z (Gen Z) and you have skills set that are rapidly becoming obsolete. Every five years 50 percent of your skill sets get obsolete.”

He said: “So, on one hand, there is a significant demand for people and skills and jobs remain unfulfilled, and on the other hand large unemployment — in the United States and globally — and that is because of the imbalance between the demand and the supply of the skills.”

Asked about the challenges of working more and more virtually and increasingly depending on machines, Mehta said: “As robots are becoming more and more like humans, we don’t want humans to become like robots. That is the price that we might end up paying as a human race. And with more and more automation, we are all seeing the relationship between people to people are getting shallower.”

He said that automation is going to continue.

So, many things are changing but we have to be very mindful,” said Mehta.