Hello, I must be going

01, April

By Eugenio Micheletti * para staffingamericalatina The first Iberoamerican dialogue, a strategic meeting focused on ...

By Eugenio Micheletti * para staffingamericalatina

The first Iberoamerican dialogue, a strategic meeting focused on employment, was developed on March 6th and 7th in Madrid. I was invited by Martin Padulla, MD at staffingamericalatina, to be give a lecture about the future of work in Argentina. Other keynote speakers were Annemarie Muntz, President of the World Employment Confederation; Bettina Schaller, President of WEC Europe; Andreu Cruañas, President of the Spanish Confederation of Private Employment Agencies (Asempleo); Antonio Garamendi, President of the Spanish Confederation of Business Associations; Ramón Puerta, former Argentinian President and current ambassador in Spain; and other important businessmen and authorities.

During the event, every speaker mentioned “the impact of change in the world of work” (“we are not going through an era of change, but through a change of era”). Such deep change is mostly the consequence of advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, and technology. Today we may witness shocking results in the industry, as well as in recruiting and human resources management, and in sales and marketing. The Mc Kinsey Global Institute claims that almost half of the work been currently developed might be subject to automation by 2055.

The impact on the labour market is transformational, changing the very nature of such markets, creating new opportunities and also, quoting Mc Kinsey, eliminating certain jobs (mainly manual and routine jobs). Meawhile, other jobs are being created.

Given the speed of these changes, learning new skills that are and shall be requested by enterprises, is key. One of the most important skills is to learn to unlearn in order to relearn. Superior education provides plenty of tools, but most of them are not used in the same way in the labour world and at school. In addition, the change dynamic of the labour world is way more vertiginous than that of the academic world. Training (and most importantly professional practices) must be permanent; working experiences must start earlier in secondary school, and in tertiary and university education.

In 1982, Phil Collins released a record called “Hello, I must be going”, which included a song called “Why can’t it wait ‘til morning”, a special song to enjoy when chilling out. The name of the record could be referring to knowledge, which has become more ephemeral than ever. We become familiar with a certain ERP, which shall soon be replaced by another that better suits a CRM. There are many different examples. Every day we come across new knowledge that seem to fade in a short period of time…

The name of the song could also refer to the attitude we take towards change: we usually wonder “why can’t it wait ‘til morning?” whenever the information system, or the tax regulation, procedures, or rules of the market change. The answer is simple: this can be applied to any change. Changes do not wait. It is like pretending to stop the wind by using our hands…

The best strategy is continuous upskilling, and developing the ability to unlearn in order to learn, understanding that the cycles during which a certain knowledge provides access to work are becoming shorter and shorter. This attitude is better when facing change, and opens an easier path towards fast adaptation.

I recall another song from that record: “Don’t let him steal your heart away”. I might be forcing the idea here, but we could also say: don’t let change steal your job away.


*Eugenio Micheletti is Director at Emerging Staffing Brokers