Skills that are AI-proof, Uber being sued for automated robo-firing, redesigning our cities due to remote work, most businesses planning to rehire their laid off staff and three priorities for HR leaders for 2021. These are the stories currently trending in the world of work.

#1. These 3 skills cannot be replicated by artificial intelligence

It is often reported that the accelerated Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to take jobs away from many workers who are engaged in simple manual work. These positions are to be replaced by technologies such as robots, drones, and automated driving. However, even more endangered are people employed in the knowledge economy whose livelihoods are the most likely to be affected by AI. Not all is doom and gloom, though. The World Economic Forum has listed three skills that will not be substituted by technology: hospitality, management, and creativity. And it is these three abilities that people, companies, and governments should invest in to become more competitive in the future. To read more on what this means, click here.


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#2. Uber sued by drivers over ‘automated robo-firing

A new legal battle is brewing in the gig economy! As reported by the BBC, former Uber drivers have accused the company of using automated ‘robo-firing’ algorithms that has led to them being laid off. The UK’s App Drivers & Couriers Union says that since 2018, it has seen over 1,000 individual cases where drivers have allegedly been wrongly accused of fraudulent activity and had their accounts deactivated. However, Uber claims that all accounts have been terminated following manual review by humans. The case will be decided in the Netherlands where Uber’s data is based.


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#3. The great rebalancing: working from home fuels rise of the ‘secondary city

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many workers to work from home – with as many as 28% of all jobs in France, the UK, and Spain, and 37% in the US now being carried out remotely. If these changes prove permanent, we can expect two groups of remote workers to emerge in the post-pandemic world: those who commute into the office once or twice a week and those who do so for one week each month for intensive brainstorming or conference-style meet-ups. That’s according to Michel Serafinelli, an economics lecturer at the University of Essex. He claims that greater acceptance of remote work might then lead to people leaving city centres and moving closer to the countryside. Serafinelli says that we can experience a reduction of up to 60% in the time skilled workers spend working in their office in central Munich, Seattle, Amsterdam, and other cities. While some argue this will lead to ‘ghost towns’, such a change could also mean less congestion on the roads and lower commercial rents, which could result in higher investment in innovation and human capital. To learn more about this topic, read this Guardian article.


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#4. 68% of businesses plan to rehire laid off staff within 6 months

Almost 70% of organisations that have furloughed or laid off employees during the current pandemic are planning to rehire their staff within the next six months. And that is despite the fact that hiring freezes represent the most critical cost-saving initiative for 40% of businesses. This is based on the Adecco Group’s Compensation and Workforce Trends survey that captured responses from over 1,150 hiring decision-makers, managers, and CEOs in the US. For more information, read here.


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#5. Top 3 priorities for HR leaders in 2021

Another survey among HR professionals, this time carried out by Gartner, says that the three most important priorities for HR leaders in 2021 include (1) building critical skills, (2) continuing organisational (re) design, and (3) focusing on change, and leadership. Furthermore, the survey shows that cost optimisation features more widely than it previously did. For more information, click here. Read the full conclusions of the survey here.


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