David Brown @dbrownanalyst
I landed in Paris recently and used my Uber App to book a ride to my hotel. I didn’t expect what happened next. The Paris taxicab mafia was having none of it, the airport was barricaded to restrict parking for Uber drivers and I had to resort to jumping over railings with my luggage to catch my ride. This is “disruption” in action, the incumbents will either join the likes of Uber or die a natural death, it is only a matter of time. So what has this got to do with you losing your job?
Well, the taxicabs can see their enemy, but in your case, an enemy has been nibbling at your heels clandestinely, your job is getting uberized without you even knowing.
There is a silent war raging; people are losing their jobs. However, there is a twist, employers are not searching for replacements, or so it seems.
With easy access to cloud computing, analytics, advanced networks, faster and cheaper data connectivity; an analyst in Kenya can replace a similarly skilled analyst in London without leaving his country. A doctor in Paris could take out the few minutes needed to remotely diagnose a Canadian patient. These new digital disruptors have a substantially lower cost structure than incumbents and there lies the attraction for Companies. This shift is happening now and will forever change the way we work.
Executives are watching this trend and adding notes to their already confusing VUCA Strategy. Politicians, on the other hand, are way behind the times. For instance, US Politicians regularly harp about “immigrants taking our jobs” when the main job grabbers are quietly working away from a nice cafe in New Delhi or behind an Apple screen polishing a hot cup of Starbucks and a very warm pretzel in Frankfurt. Politicians should ponder on important questions like; which country is tax payable to for a freelance Indian analyst who is working from his living room in Hyderabad for a US-based firm?
A Deloitte study on Digital disruption divided the world of work into four quadrants. The top left quadrant aptly named “Short Fuse, Big Bang” list industries ripe for Disruption.
Emerging economies are in an excellent position to take advantage of this digital revolution. Our best brains do not need visas or work permits from developed countries; they can just become “self-employed-brains-for-hire”, selling their wares to the highest bidder on job platforms like Upwork and PeoplePerHour.
In developed countries, I predict a trend where people will conveniently keep two jobs: the usual 9 to 5 Brick and Mortar and a leisurely digital 6 to 9; transiting to an exclusive cloud-based workplace with no permanent address. Workers become modern day nomads able to work to the highest standard for anyone while visiting the world.
There is a job war out there, and the only way to win is for you to upskill and join the digital army before your job as you know it, abruptly becomes extinct. Soon you may meet one of those nomads and ask, where do you work? And he/she, with a smile, will point to the sky and say “up in the clouds”.
Graphic Credits: Deloitte Article, Digital disruption: Short fuse, big bang?