The Swiss education system, the lure of the gig economy for the retired and a warning for London's financial services industry are among the must-read articles in this week's round-up of what's happening in the world of work.

#1. Why empathy is the key theme for 2020

Regular readers will know how much we prize soft skills and the evidence for their importance keeps coming. Amy Blaschka, at Forbes, has been digging into LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends report for 2020 and argues that all four key trends depend on empathy. “Empathy is about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and seeing things from their perspective,” she writes. In an age of AI and fusion skills, human-centered skills such as empathy will be vital to lifelong learning and development.

💡 Investing in soft skills is a must, not a luxury! Soft skills will make your company more competitive and your employees happier.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

#2. Why Switzerland’s dual-track education system is unique

People mature at different rates and not everyone discovers their dream job at the same age. That’s why the Swiss education system is one that other countries can learn from. Flexibility is built-in, so that young people – particularly those on apprenticeships – can change their focus or area of study if their needs change. This idea is carried on through life; further training in Switzerland is possible at any time, as is access to universities. In 2020, Switzerland topped the Global Talent Competitiveness Index for the seventh consecutive year, demonstrating the country’s excellence in work- based and lifelong learning.

💡 Flexibility is key: young people are not forced into committing to a career at an early stage.

Photo by Michal Kmeť on Unsplash

#3. The gig economy isn’t just for the young!

As the Sydney Morning Herald notes, more retirees are discovering the benefits of the gig economy as a way to continue to earn money and work flexibly. We already know that the gig economy is popular with young people, but this shows that the opportunities are not dependent on age. In many jurisdictions there have been moves to restrict the gig economy, apparently to protect employees but it’s clear that a more nuanced solution is necessary.

💡 The gig economy is an opportunity for people of all ages. Instead of banning it entirely, it deserves smart regulation to ensure it works for everyone.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

#4. The robots aren’t here to replace us

Workers in India, Netherlands and the US are most confident they will keep their jobs in the age of AI, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum and Ipsos. Parijat Chakraborty of Ipsos India said, “Indians realise while automation is likely they know it will act as an enabler.” This is a key insight. Humans will depend on robots to take over many of their repetitive tasks, but robots will rely on humans for the skills they don’t possess – such as empathy, as mentioned above. We shouldn’t fear automation, but we must remember that it requires us to develop fusion skills and adopt lifelong learning.

💡 Robots are not here to replace us but augment our work. Make sure you have the rights skills to take advantage the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

#5. City must fix work culture to attract top talent

A new report from the HM Treasury says that the financial services industry in London must improve workplace culture and do a better job of training employees if they are to attract top talent who might otherwise be tempted by the tech sector. This, once again, is a reminder of the importance of reskilling and upskilling – even a sector like financial services cannot ignore it.

💡 We’re all in this together! The Fourth Industrial Revolution is transforming our work wherever we are and whatever industry we work in. Get ready, invest in reskilling and embrace lifelong learning!


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