3 Solutions to Prepare for the Changing Workforce
From the expansion of robots and artificial intelligence (AI) to the rise of freelancing and remote work, significant changes to the way we work are already here. But, as Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel explained, in order to reach the best and most inclusive outcomes we need to rethink the systems and supports that were created for work in a different era.
“We need to be even more ready to make sure we build this new social contract, we build this new social safety net that allows people to reskill themselves and allows the people the flexibility of working from anywhere,” he said in a video for the World Economic Forum (WEF).
Expanding on this in an article for the WEF, “What the next 20 years will mean for jobs – and how to prepare,” Kasriel described several solutions that could help shape a workforce that’s highly skilled, more entrepreneurial, and better equipped to adapt.
1. Rethink education
Keeping up with technological change takes a commitment to lifelong learning and a culture that supports it. To that end, both businesses and governments have a role to play.
“Skills, not college pedigrees, will be what matters for the future workforce,” said Kasriel. “Skills-focused vocational programmes, as well as other ways to climb the skill ladder (such as apprenticeships), should be widely accessible and affordable.”
2. Change worker protections from a safety net to a trampoline
Worker benefits are largely tied to employment, but as training and employment models change Kasriel said those benefits and protections should be spread more evenly across the workforce. Leveraging technology to change delivery systems could help with the shift, too.
“[The safety net] must also be designed by its stakeholders—not merely the citizens being trained, but also the businesses, trade unions and other groups who depend on that reskilling and upskilling to ensure they can meet their goals with workers in the pipeline.”
3. Provide people with more freedom and flexibility
Freelancing provides millions of people with the opportunity to earn the income they need with the flexibility to design the life they want. To be more inclusive, governments and businesses can embrace remote work, flexible scheduling, and the power of platforms like Upwork.
“Working in an office is often neither possible, nor practical, for new parents, single parents, some of those living with a disability or many others in our society,” Kasriel said. “But given the option to work from home or set their own schedules, many would be able to earn an income. And many already are.”
As CEO of Upwork, the largest freelancing website, and co-chair of the World Economic Forum Council on the Future of Education, Gender and Work, Stephane Kasriel is in a unique position to share his perspective on future trends—from global forces impacting the job market and the rise of the freelance economy to how companies are changing the way they build teams and the way education should evolve. An expert in staffing innovation and remote work, Stephane led a distributed team of engineers as Upwork's SVP of Engineering before ascending to be CEO. His book Hire Fast & Build Things details how to use freelancers to power businesses. Stephane holds an MBA from INSEAD, Master’s from Stanford in Computer Science and a BS from Ecole Polytechnique in France. Harvard Business Review and Bloomberg View have featured him on topics including the future of work, entrepreneurship, and how to strengthen our global economy.View Stephane Kasriel’s other articles