Saturday, July 4, 2020 | ePaper

Future Workplace

With 190 Million Jobs Wipe Out

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Abubakar Mohammad Safwan :
Recent graduates and students close to graduation are understandably experiencing lots of panic and more challenging time as COVID-19 fallout has turned world economy and job market upside down. ILO forecasts that equivalent of 190 million jobs might be disappeared all over the world owing to global economic downturn. Bangladesh is not immune from the alarming scenario coming to the future of workplace. University Grants Commission (UGC) has reported 3.2 million students get enrolled in tertiary level education each year whereas a survey recently conducted by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) illustrates 38.6 per cent of university graduates are jobless. Hence, what is the next waiting for those individuals getting ready for job? Keeping that on focus, it has been articulated including changing scenario of job market landscape and need to do to hunt job during COVID-19 era.
Impinge of novel coronavirus on world economy and development programs are devastating. It is most anticipated that job cuts and business failure going to be dreadful aftermaths of the deadly COVID-19. Ready-made Garments, Tourism and Leather industry where meets job for 3.2 million , 2.4 million (3.9 per cent of total employment) and 558,000 people respectively will be badly affected as says The Bangladesh Rating Agency Limited's research, more concerning news found that 894,930 job losses will caused for this pandemic in Bangladesh. NGOs are also facing pressure on operational cost and fundraising dry up. Since, most of the NGOs are taking measures to decline stuffing costs and has kept hold graduates hunting because of ongoing pandemic resulting smaller fund for NGOs than prior. Many reports show almost 40% students are worried about jobs uncertainty as short term work like internships and placements are being reduced. Therefore, in this period of difficulty, fresh young talents looking for career path need new game plan and should be known about expected changing in post-pandemic workplace.
KPMG, a global network of professional firms, expects that, in the long term, there will be a fundamental transformation in the workplace and change in employee expectation. Some significant changes what will be emerged in the jobs of future are to mention here. Experts deduce that full-time jobs except absolute core employee and paper pushers or coordinators in office system will be dramatically reduced. The dominance of technology based skills will be improved as remote and digital work will be new norms with unfixed salaries. Although rising difficulty in finding regular job for fresh graduates and salary cuts will be happen, quick skill gathering capability and rapid adaptation with E-learning tools and platform will add advantage for job seekers. Video conferencing and virtual workplace will be more popular, also in-person interaction could be shifted to online and employees will be monitored by tracking keystroke on computer. Stronger communication skills will be highly focused as companies have already gone fully teleconference based.
Data is going to be switched to critical asset in the post-covid-19 times. Many companies and service provider programs as well as development programs can predict, with right data, about their business opportunities and disruptions. So, this type of episode might create demand for expert data analysts to make data-based decision. Moreover, software developers, IT specialists and financial experts as well as technically-enabled and multi-skilled fresh graduates will be front-runner in entering job as employers will focus on strategic planning and non-essential expenses reduction. Besides, being continuously updated and fresh in skills with critical thinking (information evaluating capability from diverse sources) capability and strong team management and leadership quality will be in demand, along with having data literacy will be valued.
Dan Hawes, co-founder of UK based 'Graduate Recruitment Bureau', alluded, it will be big question asked to the interviewee 'what did you do in lockdown?" employers will judge what you have done during quarantine. So, at the time of closure, fresher in workplace and final year students should concentrate on crafting a perfect CV, it can be via skill-specific online course like futureLearn, courser, MOOCs, EDx Classes etc. certificates or professional development training or volunteering. Further, a closer look on how to interact with recruiters, online job searching, building a resume and LinkedIn profile can be helpful in finding a job soon. Though there will be additional competition as experienced and lateral people looking for new workplace and even ready for accepting lower salaries, online presence and following organizations and professional profile of your interest through social channel and improving interaction with employers can draw a bright career path for you. Reaching out to recruiters and strengthening relationship with university alumni network can guide you to reach out the best opportunity possible.  
Research, 'Employment Growth and Entrepreneurial Activity in Cities', supports the observation that entrepreneurship can play critical role in generating job and nurturing a wealth generation. In a post-pandemic world, the focus on entrepreneurship should be emphasized more strongly as says managing director of BATB. So, this time of lockdown can give you time to think of a new business idea. Hopefully, by the time of shutdown, potential investor could be managed to make your dream implemented.  Nevertheless, nowadays entrepreneurship and idea hunting has been recognized by world leaders as explained the G20 Youth Entrepreneurs Alliance.
Lastly, change in workplace demand has brought an anxiety-ridden time for the fresh graduates and current university students of Bangladesh. A study 'From Education to Employability' by Dewan and Sarkar, shows educational institutions of Bangladesh pay less attention to job-market demand while imparting skills to the learners. So, learning by themselves can be only scheme to be adapted with the comparatively more virtual workplace.

(Abubakar Mohammad Safwan is a student of Institute of Education and Research (IER), University of Dhaka. Email: abmsafwan.du

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