Our first selection of must-read articles about the world of work this year considers a new breed of ‘co-operative apps’, AI training, managing visas for skilled workers, preparing for the decade ahead and the hottest tech job of 2020.

#1. Worker-Owned Apps Are Trying to Fix the Gig Economy


What would happen if gig economy workers came together to cut out the middleman and build their own platforms? This isn’t a theoretical question. Hundreds of worker-owned apps are springing up and already providing alternatives to Silicon Valley giants like Uber and Deliveroo. One such ‘platform cooperative’ is Up & Go, a home cleaning app owned by workers in New York. Launched in 2017, cleaners earn $25 per hour which is twice what they could earn independently. The platform takes a 5% cut, compared to 20% or more elsewhere. “On other apps, the owners set your wages, but we set our own wages,” notes worker-owner Esmeralda Flores.


Photo by pan xiaozhen on Unsplash

#2. Preparing for the future of work


We recently explored key trends ahead, but how are industry leaders gearing up for changes in the workforce over the coming decade? New insights from Hanover Research highlights some of the opportunities and threats they see in store. While technology is seen as a way to boost productivity and efficiency, it is also viewed as a disruptive force. New tech could eliminate 14% of today’s jobs, but also has great potential to create new ones. Meanwhile, HR chiefs will be kept busy plugging skill gaps, embedding gig economy workers and utilizing machine learning. Our five-step toolkit has practical advice for getting on the front foot.


Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

#3. Why is Sweden deporting talented tech workers?


Sweden has a shortage of qualified graduates in subjects such as engineering and programming. So, like other developed countries, in recent years it has been looking beyond national and EU borders to plug vacancies. Thousands of skilled foreign workers arrive each year and many decide they want to stay. But hundreds are now threatened with deportation as a result of minor administrative errors. This BBC article looks at the controversy and whether it threatens to create a ‘brain drain’ for Sweden’s thriving tech scene.


Photo by Spencer on Unsplash

#4. AI training for EU citizens


Is it time to learn more about AI? EU citizens will be able to do so for free thanks to an online course from the University of Helsinki. The multi-lingual initiative encourages people to learn the basics of artificial intelligence, whatever their age or education. The Finnish Minister of Employment, Timo Harakka, explains: “The significance of AI is growing. To make use of it, we need digital skills. Changing labour markets, the transformation of work, digitalisation and intensifying global competition all mean one thing for the EU: we must invest in people.”


Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

#5. The skills needed to land the hottest tech job of 2020


Talking of artificial intelligence and skill gaps… a new study from LinkedIn found that demand for AI specialists grew 74% in the last five years. So, it’s no surprise that this is expected to be one of the most highly sought-after roles in 2020, but it’s not just AI in high demand. Other IT professionals like cloud engineers, cybersecurity experts, and data scientists also made the list. With tech-heavy skills in such short supply, some even suggest that corporations should appoint a “chief reskilling officer” to ensure that the required talent is there to fill the new vacancies. Companies from Morgan Stanley to Microsoft are already busy upskilling current employees in AI.


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