The World Economic Forum is holding the Jobs Reset Summit for four days this week (20—23 October 2020). Each day will have a different theme: day 1 will tackle economic, growth, revival and transformation; day 2 will be about work, wages and job creation; day 3 will focus on education, skills and lifelong learning; day 4 will discuss equity, inclusion and social justice.

In time for the summit, Saadia Zahidi, the World Economic Forum’s Managing Director and Head of the Centre for the New Economy and Society, said that this event is an effort to leverage the effects of the COVID-19 health crisis. She believes that we can turn the pandemic into an opportunity for more work.

Effect of the pandemic

The pandemic has disrupted everything this year including global economies, world markets, and jobs. It is believed that the need for digital transformation and tech adoption will continue to increase. As the industries adapt and evolve, we would see that the changes are not only on the working setup from office to remote, but also with the nature of the tasks.

A lot of employees around the world have been displaced due to the combined effects of the health crisis, its repercussions on the economy, and the continuing rise of technology. Because of this, available job opportunities are not that many compared to the pre-pandemic times.

The future of work

The challenge now is how we can turn this disruption around and make it into something positive for workers. Though job opportunities will come from business decisions, it is still up to the employees if they want to prepare themselves for the future of work.

According to Zahidi, there is a need for reskilling and upskilling especially during this time of lockdowns and displacements. Reskilling involves training on an entirely new set of skills for a different role. Upskilling, on the other hand, means improving on the existing skills and deepening knowledge or abilities within the area of expertise for a similar role.

A study of the World Economic Forum suggests that by 2025, humans and tech will share tasks. In preparation for this, most companies and businesses believe that their current employees need reskilling and upskilling. But no matter the need for upgrading skills, the top priority right now is to understand the changes in the working environment. As mentioned earlier, the nature of the task itself will change. Currently, there are already obvious changes in how we do things or what we call as the new normal.

Final thoughts

The biggest upskilling or reskilling that employees need first is for remote work. This is especially necessary for those who are used to office-based jobs. The sudden mandatory work-from-home setup at the start of the year due to the lockdowns are not enough to introduce employees to this new working environment. They still need the proper training, reskilling for the use of remote work tools, and upskilling for their current tasks to match the needs of the new normal.

Watch the sessions we selected for you on the Future of Work from the World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit 2020.