Soulaima Gourani’s outlook on how the future of work will develop

Soulaima Gourani, has for years had an advisory role for companies on management and forecasting. She is out with her latest book  “Design din fremtid” about the future of work and in this connection Nextt Management has interviewed her where she gives her idea of what the work force will look like.

How do you think the future of work will look like?

There will be a serious shortage of digital talents. In 2020 experts claim that over 30% of tech jobs will be vacant. Bill Gates once said that the next 15 years will be indescribable and inconclusive, where innovations in health, banking and finance, agriculture and education will revolutionize the way we live and work. Therefore, if there is a market for what you can do, and thus if you have a job, you should use resources to find out.

But if you really want to know what the future looks like, follow the money and see what investors put their money into. Innovative and responsible companies, for example, do a lot to fight climate challenges, increase security, prevent or cure people. They are taking action and it will affect our lives, future and job situation.

As technology evolves, it will also become clearer that our education systems are not preparing us for the opportunities offered by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Roughly speaking, all companies will depend on two factors: People and systems. So you have to make sure you become more human than system.

Globalisation 4.0 – what does that entail for us?

By 2050, scientists, such as Nick Bostrom (author of Superintelligence: Path, Dangers, Strategies, ed.), predict that computers and technology will be smarter than humans, and there will be incredibly few jobs that only humans can perform. Therefore, to keep up, we must not only optimize our IQ and our emotional intelligence (EQ, ed.), But now also our global intelligence (GQ, ed.) And digital intelligence (DQ, ed.), Which together will form the framework. for the global level of digital, social and professional skills, and thus the degree of your personal readiness for the future.

Even today, there are no jobs without a degree of IT and technology in them, but we still belong to a linear society where you are expected to fit into one of the boxes: unemployed or employed, full or part-time, fast or sick and public employee , privately employed or self-employed. However, the future will blast these locked-in frameworks, and we will see a lot of new hybrids and new ways of working, and many new ways of having what you might call a “job”.

Can you give an example of what you mean by new ways having a “job”

Google and Facebook are designed by those who designed “Disneyland”, so their offices are designed in a way where you never have to leave “your job”. You can take your dog with you, swim, train, eat free food served by the world’s best chefs. You can have blood tests, be cut, invite your family for dinner at the “office” for free – and you can just “raise” an iPad, a new mobile battery, a charger, a PC or a mobile phone in a vending machine, as if it were a soda. Absolutely free. The reason they spoil their employees to such an extent is that it is their simplest and most powerful weapon in the fight for talent. Over 150,000 jobs are currently vacant because there are not enough good employees for the positions and the fight will continue – and it will hit Denmark. The younger generations are motivated not by retirement savings and titles, but by freedom, projects and a comfortable lifestyle.

Tell about the younger generations – including the professional job-hoppers – how are they going to work and what should employers be expecting?

Generation Z – is probably the generation with the most nicknames. For everyone, one can agree that here there is truly a demanding and pampered generation that will put their unique imprint here on the world.

Personally, it feels like yesterday that I went to Blockbuster to rent movies, and I try in vain to tell my kids, who are just generation Z, that there was a time before YouTube, Netflix, and the Internet. But they do not understand that you could fax or send documents for signature by mail, or that we had  to go to stores to buy Christmas gifts and that you could not see each other when you called – or that we could not call for “free” . Our children find that everything can be done online, and they experience the world extremely quickly, conveniently and virtually without any  waiting time.

It will affect them and what they believe will be possible in the future. For Generation Z, open and change-ready, vibrant and curious, and they will change things. They are driven by desire and passion and demand it in their jobs as well. They want meaning rather than managers and want personal projects where they can see the meaning of the madness – and if they can’t get it, they just travel on. At the same time, they listen a lot to their friends, which often means more to them than their family. They create and they create, but they also adapt to new environments in a hurry and can multitask like no other generation. For their brains are different from yours and mine, so finally do not believe you can lead them as you are used to lead.

How will globalization affect us here in Denmark?

People can become almost small-aggressive when the talk is that in a few years people will be redundant in a large number of jobs and in many industries. Because it is so incredibly difficult to think new with an old brain. But yes, it is happening and we cannot hide behind unions as work becomes limitless. After all, digital work is boundless.

We get a boundless workforce made up of people living without any formal or permanent employment. This type of work will especially attract people who would like to decide for themselves when they work 24 hours a day, and especially for architects, software engineers, designers, teachers, consultants, designers and marketers, introverts and B people who will not meet at 8. And for you as a boss, that means getting used to not being motivated by fringe, titles or fears.

Under these circumstances, what competencies will be the most important?

Technology can and will automate many jobs, and 87 percent of us are to some extent affected by the future in 3-5 years. IT can and will help you make faster and sometimes more accurate decisions, but you probably won’t be able to leave critical thinking to technology. Your future will therefore require you to think. But it will also require your common sense – because it does not have computers, and thus critical thinking becomes a competence.

However, critical thinking also encompasses the ability to think strategically, but it is not something that you simply pull in an automaton – it is a competency you develop and a muscle you train that means you can imagine what can happen. in the future, and then apply it to current circumstances.

This can immediately sound like a difficult exercise, especially if you are a bit stuck in what the future looks like, what you can do and what you can “create”, but with the right techniques, anyone can become a better strategic thinker. For example, try sniffing on game theory – I myself am wildly inspired by the legendary Paul Milgrom, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2008. He is an expert in “auction design” and it is math and economics in the real fun way.

We also know that people who can combine art and technology make a big difference, because it often ensures that original content can be created. Just think about Steve Jobs: Where was Apple today if he hadn’t studied calligraphy? Roughly speaking, through the calligraphy, Steve Jobs learned to think like an artist, and that became the skill that set him apart from other computer geniuses in Silicon Valley.

In doing so, we need more STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. But none of the skills are useful in isolation. It is the degree and the way you combine them that is crucial. It is equally important to talk about ethics and our moral compass, for it is the overall societal and ethical understanding that enables us to apply technology with dignity, wisdom, perspective and due regard for the safety and well-being of others.

Hvordan do we prepare ourselves?

The overheadprojector was founded in 1930, and although I am only 44, I was thought in such a school. I also learnt to write on a typing machine and got my first e-mail when I went to high-school. Now the robots win over us in chess. Should we let this sink in for a minute? There are probably not many schools left that are using the overhead projector, but we have not caught up in the same way in terms of education, working late into the night and the way manage employees. It is straight up “old school”.

The good news is that in the future, we do not need premisson from anyone. You just have to go out and create your own success. The future cannot be controlled and that people you surround youself with and work with should not be controlled either. It is no secret after all, that real success with working with creative people is that you cannot demand creativitiy but it comes at unexpected times. Society must therefore create good growth conditions for creativity to flourish. Creativity, problem solving skills, imagination and collaboration skills are some of the most important elements of the future job market. We need and will need people who can think independently.

How do we respond in a world where more people are becoming self-employed- what should we be aware of?

One out of four danes dream of a change in the work-life balance and many dream of being able to choose over their time and life. Therefore, we will see a massive shift in the employee mentality over the next 5-10 years. And thus, self-employed people need to be aware that they can find out the balance between learning new and delivering high quality as well as building a network around them, as a kind of insurance.

What will be a good change and what will not?

The world will remain exciting and dynamic. But if you want to be on the frontlines when the changes happen and to limit the risk of falling behind, then it is important to read the trends that will affect your job and industry. It will also be a matter of how much courage you have to act on the indsights.

The future is interim

In the future, it will become even more important that businesses quickly react and adapt to the changing environment. Here interim managers, substitutes and freelancers will play an important role. To get to know more about the future of work then read the entire interview with Christian Hvashøj, who gives him advice on how businesses prepares themselves for a flexible workforce.