Song Jian, a Chinese mathematician and scientist, is credited as the mastermind behind China’s population forecasts. In the early 1980s, he crafted a sequence of population forecasts indicating the potential for China’s population to reach 4 billion by 2080. These projections startled China’s leaders, compelling them to implement several policy measures. While Song Jian’s projections enlightened leaders about the issue of overpopulation, subsequent sentiments emerged among Chinese leaders that the forecasts overlooked declining fertility rates, potentially resulting in overstated projections. The policies were subsequently changed in 2015.
The prediction serves as a vivid recall for Workforce Planners, highlighting that our forecasts bear enduring consequences for how businesses strategize their forthcoming endeavors. As we transition into an era of increased digitization and data-centric operations, we must exercise caution regarding these conceivable stumbling blocks.
We seem to be falling into the same trap in many areas. Here are some examples of those and ideas on how to counter the thinking. It looks like we’re getting caught in similar patterns across multiple areas. Here are a few examples and some ideas to shift our thinking.
I’ve incorporated this segment to caution HR leaders, recruiters, and workforce planners against the potential for excessive reactions.
Overreaction to Media Stories that Work from Home is Over: In the post-pandemic era, numerous reports indicate companies calling employees back to the office. This is a foreseeable and natural trend, yet it doesn’t signify the demise of remote work as a strategy or the hybrid work-from-home model. As recruiters, we know that Remote and work-from-home are still significant perks among prospective employees as we get more targeted in the skills we seek. The metaverse is a virtual world still in its early stages of development, but it has the potential to revolutionize how we work, learn, and interact with each other. One of the ways that the metaverse could change our perceived issues around remote work is by providing a more immersive and realistic experience. This innovation could help reduce the isolation and disconnection many remote workers experience.
For example, a remote worker could use the metaverse to attend a virtual meeting in a realistic conference room or collaborate with colleagues on a project in a shared virtual workspace. This aspect could help create a greater sense of presence and belonging, improving productivity and morale.
Overreaction to Media Stories about the Shrinking Role of Human Labor: A fascinating study by Harvard Professor in the Department of Sociology, Ya-Wen Lei, highlights a very interesting behavior trend. In a study of companies substituting Humans with Robots, many companies overstate the power of Robots. This study was conducted in a limited sample of manufacturing companies that adopt automation, but saying we are Robotics enabled fetched some perceived benefits. (This may be another detailed research area, why we attribute more power to machines.)
The point in time at which we confined individuals to their existing skill sets remains unclear. As a result, we’ve adopted the notion that if someone performs certain responsibilities, their abilities are limited to just those tasks. While I’ve discussed this previously, it’s important to highlight that a current job serves as a stepping stone for acquiring the skills necessary for future positions.
If we formulate strategies assuming that human labor holds minimal significance, we will put ourselves in a precarious position.
Here is a table from one of our studies that may be helpful
Misjudging the Worth of an Aging Workforce in the Realm of Digital Transformation: Generative AI will be the biggest equalizer of technical capabilities of different workforce demographics. Malaysian Policymakers have some very interesting foresight. They have realized the loneliness problem among Japanese retirees is high, and they have significant Engineering skills. Malaysia plans to attract Japanese retirees with Engineering or technical skills to reboot their healthcare and Engineering systems. Such is the power of strategic thinking.
We already see evidence in middle-level software team managers rolling their sleeves to write code using Generative AI. As generative AI gets integrated into MS Office-like applications, we will see new power thinking from experienced team members as they can articulate their vision more readily. Nobel laureate Robert Lefkowitz has provided us with a guiding light in this regard. Dr. Lefkowitz has integrated AI into his research endeavors and consistently emphasizes the importance for aging researchers to delve into the realms of Digital and AI knowledge. Such motivating instances can potentially pave the path forward for us.”
An update from our Europe Talent Study: As communicated before, we are presenting our detailed study on European tech Hubs at the end of September at the Talent Intelligence Conference. The study progresses well, and we plan to unearth several critical trends. This week, we focussed on the merits of the Digital Nomads program launched by several European countries that can trigger tech talent growth. (Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Portugal, Spain and Malta. Variations of such programs exist in The Netherlands and Norway.