THERE’S no doubt that Covid-19 has killed some jobs. The good news, however, is that technology will create new ones.
Individuals and companies had no choice but to come up with new ways of working that forced everyone to use technology. The ones that stand out are Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams. The technology platforms have essentially moved us into the first phase of virtual operation. We host virtual meetings, virtual events, virtual parties and virtual funerals.
A lot can go wrong when hosting virtual meetings and events, leading to some being cancelled or impacting the quality of the gathering. The new shift is giving birth to a new role in business which can be referred as “virtual officer”. There's a huge demand for people who can help facilitate video meetings. For effective and successful virtual operations, businesses will have to consider creating new roles that will focus squarely on managing the success of virtual operations.
With the new way of working come new opportunities, challenges and risks. The migration from physical to virtual is also creating a security nightmare, and in some instances, governance loopholes. People who use their computers from home and access virtual platforms require a new form of security.
A new role in the workplace will emerge out of this crisis to take care of employee online security while working from home. A new designation, which we can call remote online security officer, will be required, partly because this goes beyond just installing security software. Security risks while working remotely will require added and active support to keep businesses protected from online harm.
Beyond the home office, drones will become a new feature in the new normal. We’ve seen how in Ghana and Rwanda, drones deliver vaccines.
We will probably see more drones being used for other serious operations.
This will once again create another layer of new work requiring new workers. Consider a broad range of commercial drone operators – from those assisting real estate groups to those photographing events, providing views for construction companies and marketing materials, or other programmes for businesses.
All the operations will drone pilots.
Although non-professional drone operators can fly the machines, business operations will require licensed drone pilots. This will take off as soon as businesses undergo digital transformation and adopt new technologies as part of their core business operations.
These are just some of the jobs to emerge in the new normal as businesses enter new markets or provide new services.
More roles will also require emerge as businesses make changes. New jobs, however, will not just emerge without adoption by business and new regulations by governments.
Businesses can just watch technological changes and do nothing and die.
Governments as well can be aware of changes and just preach about the Fourth Industrial Revolution without making the necessary changes.
For new jobs to form part of the new economy, businesses will have to innovate and do away with some traditional operations that are no longer relevant in the new normal.
Governments also have a role to play to influence the emergence of
“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” new jobs. In some areas, new regulations will be necessary.
As an example, if we are to see new jobs, such as drone pilots, local governments will have to issue drone licences and laws will have to be drafted to encourage professionalism in the drone space. All this will add to the evolution of new jobs driven mainly by digital adoption.
Other stakeholders that will have to play a role in the emergence of new jobs are education and training institutions.
Traditional learning institutions are known to offer what is no longer relevant in the market and thereby slow the adoption of new jobs in the market. Education and training institutions will have to align themselves with changes in the market in such a way that people can start to learn about skills they will require in the dynamic new workplace.
As more and more people are losing their jobs due to changes in the marketplace, the emergence of new jobs is an exciting prospect. For society to benefit, businesses, governments and academic institutions will have to act in line with the change.
Failure to change and adapt will lead to further unemployment as Covid-19 will continue to destroy the old economy, leaving us with one choice – to adopt the new economy.
Wesley Diphoko is the Biztech editor
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE