Digitisation and Covid-19-induced recession are creating a double disruption scenario for workers, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has said in a report.
The third edition of the Future of Jobs Report titled The Jobs of Tomorrow indicates that by 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal and a significant share of companies also expect to make changes to locations, their value chains and the size of their workforce due to factors beyond technology.
The report said that in addition to the current disruptions from the pandemic-induced lockdowns and economic contraction, technological adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs and skills by 2025.
The Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) says the report is a reflection of the situation on the ground.
In an interview on Saturday, Ecam executive director George Khaki said Covid-19 and technology have drastically changed work delivery mode and reduced jobs, a situation he said calls for a new set of skills.
He said: “We all have seen the impact of Coivd-19 driving businesses to think outside the box to ensure business survival.
“This along with the ever-changing technological advancements has indeed rendered some people jobless. This, however, does not mean everything is lost but it will need skills sets, replacing the old skills.”
Khaki said time has come for employers and the country to align training to the labour market needs.
“In the medium-term, we appreciate that it may be hard to adjust from the current set of skills to new skills; hence, we need to come up with social security plan to cushion job losses, for instance, introducing unemployment benefits,” he said.
The report’s projections are in line with findings of the Malawi Frequency Phone Survey on Covid-19 conducted by the National Statistical office (NSO) in August this year, which showed that on employment, 73 percent of respondents in urban areas indicated that they had stopped working.
Similarly, a survey conducted by Ecam also showed that 273 712 Malawians became jobless in the first half of 2020 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and estimated that by the close of this year, 680 496 jobs would be lost in view of the pandemic.
To minimise the impact of job losses, Malawi Congress of Trade Unions general secretary Dennis Kalekeni said in an interview on Saturday that workers and businesses need to rethink business models, observing that Covid-19, digitisation and economic recession are indeed putting issues of labour at stake.
He said: “It is high time Malawi woke up to develop human capital. In the past we were into white-collar jobs because opportunities were numerous, but now people have advanced with their education and the vacancies have been filled.”