A few days ago McKinsey, one of the best known and most important consulting firms in the world, published a study in which there are reflections and forecasts on a crucial issue: the future of work after Covid-19. Sectors of employment and professions that are losing ground or developing, skills that change, much more.
The same company already in January 2021 had released another similar contribution: "the next normal arrives: the trends that will define 2021 and beyond".
They are very interesting studies because together with many others, they give us a qualitative vision from above on the future that awaits us in the world of work. The pandemic is causing significant consequences in many sectors, there is no doubt. However, it is good to take into account that it intervened on a pre-existing situation that many have already defined as great transformation, a real period change, in the societies and economy of the world. Even at work: the effects of globalization and change technological digital have been visible for some time.
Throughout history, economic revolutions have destroyed jobs but always created new productive sectors o Skills thus generating new types of employment in different sectors. Many scholars argue that this time it doesn't seem to be exactly like that, at least for the moment. For almost twenty years, technological innovation and automation have progressed professionally reducing large swathes of workers to the margins who are unable to relocate quickly or easily. Maybe they adapt to far less skilled jobs and lower wages. Relocation to new jobs appears to be slow for many. There seems to be no coherence between the frenzied pace of change and the slow pace of professional adaptation. With no small social consequences.
It's not just about automation of executive works, with a lower professional content. Digitization andintelligence artificial they are replacing the human being even in previously unthinkable jobs. Writing newspaper articles, for one thing. But everyone is easily able to realize how many things the "machines" do today compared to a not too distant past.
Some argue that job opportunities have been polarizing for some time. On the one hand, the lower-profile jobs, carried out by the most precarious social groups, and not yet too touched by automation by their very nature, such as riders or cleaners for example. On the other hand, the jobs they require new specialist skills and therefore they are more paid. In the middle a mass of more traditional jobs that are receding in quantity and quality, precisely because of globalization and technology.
Here then is the pandemic. It has given a sometimes very strong acceleration to some of these phenomena. The McKinsey studies mentioned above help to identify these evolutions very effectively also for the future.
Let's think for a moment about the experience of each of us in the past year: how we worked, how we bought, what we didn't do that we usually did. Focusing on this already means understanding the basis on which the Report reaches conclusions. In short, they shouldn't surprise us too much, if we think about it carefully.
And therefore: what will the world of work be when the pandemic is over? First of all, a discriminating factor in changing occupations is proximity, having to work close to other people, interacting with customers, for example in shops, banks, food services. The effects of the pandemic also of a psychological nature and the acquired habit, which will remain, of use much more the network (purchases, services, other), will ensure that these jobs will suffer even after it is over.
Le new shopping habits in network the opportunities in logistics will probably increase: goods warehouses, shipments, home deliveries. But they will hardly increase the mass of lower-income jobs mentioned above and, above all, it seems that they will hardly be able to compensate for the loss of jobs in jobs in which proximity to the other is indispensable.
Let's add the new ways of working and meeting remotely using digital tools: these are habits that are expected to remain even after the pandemic, albeit more limited, and will lead to new criticalities for professions linked, for example, to business tourism. And it is evident that in turn this implies consequences of the same type for every related activity, from means of transport, to hotels, to food services. And maybe even for those who manage physical spaces for businesses, which are expected to reduce their size. Everything is always closely connected in economics. It will be a question of whether all this, which moves an important share of business, will be offset by leisure tourism which is expected to have a good rebound once the pandemic is over.
THEdigital automation which was already in place before in many sectors and for many professions, in manufacturing and service companies (for example the automation of production processes and home banking, but the examples would be many), was accentuated by Covid 19 and the prediction is that this will continue afterwards. The evolution already evident before will be strengthened: the need to have and consolidate new professional skills, different from the past and more complete. Better pay. It is estimated that nearly all new job growth will be for high-paying ones.
So many will be obliged to change jobs: they will succeed if and to what extent they have skills equal to the new jobs that will be created or are changing, already now.
In the world of work, the pandemic has greatly emphasized the transformations already underway in many areas. Increased the speed of change. Some might say: it rains in the wet. But a new balance will eventually prevail. You need to be quick to look up.