The Power of WEF and the Future of Work

In by Contextere

Last week our CEO, Gabe Batstone, attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) in New York City. The following is a reflection of his experience.

It was a great session with the World Economic Forum (WEF) in NYC. I feel lucky to be a part of the Aerospace Task Force addressing the ‘Next Economy’ and more specifically the ‘Future of Work’. The focus was on ongoing collaboration around managing the opportunities & challenges of the 4th Industrial Revolution. The objective was to go from ‘Analysis to Impact’ and, in my opinion, progress was made.

 

It was great to see the collaboration not just among aerospace companies but also with our colleagues in consumer, financial, media, aviation and beyond. It’s a testament to the power of WEF to convene experts and push them towards action – kudos to that great team. A lot was covered in just two short days but here are five themes that have stuck in my head since. 

 

1) Big Companies Care – despite the common narrative of big business is evil I was surrounded by Fortune 500’s all dedicating time, effort, and budget for the greater good. Certainly an element of self-interest but a much larger measure of visionary leadership. At the end of the day, companies are just groups of humans and most really do care about their employees, customers, investors, and broader society.

 

 

2) Geography is a problem – that being the urban\rural divide as it relates to opportunity and economic disparity. Too many people are moving to cities because that is where good employment is found. However, having everyone move to the city is not sustainable or desirable.

 

 

3) Skills, Skills, Skills – the word of the week and a key to the future of work. We need a pipeline to move people from declining jobs to stable jobs and from stable jobs to emerging jobs. 60% of jobs only have 30% of tasks that can be automated – our robot overlords will have to wait. BUT, our education systems better get busy transforming for the world of cobots.

 

 

4) Digital Literacy is Core – it was said before every company is a software company, that has evolved to every company is a digital company. Every employee needs to have digital skills for their current job and to ensure they are employable for their next job as well. 

 

 

5) Complex Cross-Functional Problem – no silver bullets in this equation. The way forward literally bridges every department. This is not a niche job for the CTO office or transformation team. We are going to need HR, operations, management, procurement and more to be involved and supportive of the changes coming.

 

There was certainly a lot more on the table but, hopefully, you find some of this thought-provoking. I am personally excited that we are talking about the change, embracing the challenges, and trying to smooth the path forward. If we all commit to the transformation though, the 4th Industrial Revolution can look more like a ramp then a cliff!