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THE FUTURE OF WORK AFTER COVID-19

The number of new Covid-19 infections has been dropping globally, and in Macedonia significantly. With vaccinations taking place at a growing pace, it looks like the end of the pandemic is in sight, or at least, under control. The economic losses have been devastating and the human toll immeasurable. Yet, we are at a historic juncture when we need to show strength, but also strategy and planning based on data, to come out of these tragic times stronger and moving in the right direction.

Major historical and disruptive events have always been catalysts for great change. But in most of these cases, change has come with high costs and it has taken its toll on several areas of human life, both public and personal. The Covid-19 pandemic has not been the exception. The challenging times we’ve experienced in the past year and a half have forced us to face an uncertain present and an unimaginable future. Jobs have been lost and businesses have been destroyed. But as the saying goes, difficult times are ripe for opportunities, and the opportunities are plentiful, we just need to recognize them, and prepare accordingly.

We are not going back to a world we once knew. We are heading into a future that is even more uncertain than it was before. The changes we’ve had to make during the quarantine episodes have had a drastic and immediate effect in the way we live and work, specifically in the way we perceive work and different occupations. Before the pandemic, the public mostly thought about the different types of jobs either when they were picking or applying for one, or in social conversations. It was during quarantine times that they really started to seriously consider the different types of jobs from the perspective of importance, location, their function, and whether they were “essential.” These types of considerations will have an impact on how we as a society think about different jobs, how they are conducted and what they mean to society.

Considerable effort has been made to understand the implications of continuing remote working or going back to offices. People are already evaluating job opportunities based on the possibilities for remote working. Companies are analyzing the pros and cons of establishing a long-term schedule that would either allow for employees to work from home or combine office workdays with remote working days. Not all occupations can be accommodated to function remotely, as you might rightly assume. The computer-based office types of work in advanced economies accounts for roughly one-third of employment. And because work in this arena requires only moderate physical proximity, “all potential remote work is within this arena” according to a McKinsey Global Institute’s research.

Even before the pandemic we were seeing transformational trends and shifts in remote working, e-commerce, and especially automation, but what happened with the pandemic is that, not only it accelerated it, it also provided a trial period for companies and institutions who were hesitant to embrace these trends. They now know what these trends mean for their business, they have collected real-world data on the risks and advantages of said phenomena and can make informed decisions. The same goes for the working force as well. People who in the past year and a half have had to work remotely, can decide or influence the way they want to work in the future based on real life experiences. According to a Forbes article, “72% of executives say that their organizations have started adopting permanent remote-working models.” Correspondingly, around 70% of employees also claim that being able to work from home, even if that means part of the week, has a decisive impact in the way they’d select their next job.

However, because remote working is conditioned on a specific arena of occupations, namely – the computer-based office work, this will influence how the younger workforce pick their professions, and how the older generations decide on skills upgrade, or reskilling. Reskilling as a phenomena is not new and it has been increasingly present since the digital revolution began, though, with the pandemic it will be even more prevalent and crucial for the recharging and stabilization of the global economy. Global digitalization and AI efforts have impacted the extinction and growth of respective occupations. According to the McKinsey research, many companies have already utilized Ai and automation in warehouses, grocery stores, call centers, and manufacturing plants, and it is predicted that work arenas with high levels of human interaction will continue to accelerate its deployment. This also implies that a lot of people will have to change jobs, or more crucially, change occupations.

Similar or increased challenges were felt in Macedonia as well, with the economy facing a drastic decline as much as 14.9% drop only in the second quarter of 2020, according to a research by Finance Think. Sectors like: food and beverage service activities, retail trade, land transport and transport via pipelines, warehousing and support activities for transportation, etc., were identified as the ones that have suffered the greatest economic setback, according to an early assessment conducted by ILO/EBDR (2020). According to Finance Think’s research, it is estimated that around 60 thousand jobs have been at immediate risk to be lost, but the number was significantly reduced due to the employment retention government measures.

In an article published by the Economic Chamber of Macedonia on the Macedonian economy in the current and post-covid19 period, when identifying the long-term structural weaknesses of the Macedonian economy, the asymmetric state of the labor market was stated as one of the main weaknesses. This means that the labor market is dominated on one hand “by inadequate labor profiles, which create unemployment profiles with diplomas, and, on the other hand, by the lack of technical and professional profiles that are in-demand by the contemporary labor market.”

One of several measures recommended by the Economic Chamber of Macedonia is “substantial reorganization of the educational process in the country, at all levels, with effective involvement of all stakeholders,” with the private sector meeting the demands for quality workforce.

For the past 5 years, Brainster has been doing exactly that. For years now, it has provided cutting edge educational programmes with world renowned professionals as its instructors, preparing a whole generation of skilled professionals locally and internationally, who are already taking the challenges of contemporary occupations full on. From the very beginning, Brainster’s mission has been to help people future-proof their careers by learning in-demand tech skills. As it stands today, close to 10,000 alumni from 4 different countries have passed through its courses and academies, and with an impressive 80% employment rate of its graduates. All of its 7 academies: Digital Marketing, Graphic Design, Full-stack & Front-end programming, Software Testing, UX/UI Design, and Data Science, are producing skilled alumni who are answering the “demands for quality workforce”, while preparing the tech leaders and entrepreneurs of the future.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Brainster’s leadership sensed very early on that the restrictions of the pandemic would allow them to engage on a larger scale with prospective students and professionals who wanted to start a career or were simply looking to upgrade their skills. The intention was to give a chance to thousands of young talents and professionals to not waste their time during strict quarantine rules and develop the skills of the future. It worked. The business grew by 250%. Since then, Brainster’s team has grown as well. It already offers its employees the opportunity to work from home, or to combine office work with remote work at their convenience. In addition, the new Co-innovation & Hiring platform has been putting up record numbers of employment and co-innovation with more than 300 local and international companies onboard.

 

Starting from October 2021, Brainster will launch new bootcamps in Digital Marketing and Full-stack Web Coding for the international market, as well as Full Stack HR, and Project and Product Management academies for the Macedonian market, with Business Intelligence offered for both Markets. These bootcamps and academies shall be based on a hybrid model of learning, offering flexible and structured learning experience at the same time for our students.  As aforementioned, the new bootcamps and academies introduce the hybrid learning experience which is Brainster’s latest innovation in trying to elevate the learning process to new heights. It is part of Brainster’s vision to constantly evaluate and improve its products based on the needs and success of its students. The bootcamps and academies are organized in modules which consist of both self-paced courses and live classes.

This approach provides the students with flexibility, i.e. taking the self-paced courses whenever it fits in their schedule during the week, while at the same time maintaining structure because, at the end of each week, there is a live course which summarizes everything covered by self-paced courses and gets you in direct contact with instructors. In terms of practical work, these bootcamps will allow the students to learn a new competency by working on real-world projects that have been requested by real companies that are co-innovation partners of Brainster, all while being mentored by world renowned instructors who will offer them advice, guidance and support on how to best learn and progress through the bootcamp. But that’s not all. There is a separate module in these bootcamps where students will be able to learn from HR experts and career coaches on how to prepare CVs, how to go through the application process, how to prepare for the interview as well as how to demonstrate not only their newly acquired technical competencies, but their soft skills as well. The idea is to provide the students the full package, the full Brainster experience – from the introduction to the material, all the way to hiring companies.

As you can see, Brainster’s bootcamps and Academies have been developed based on its extensive research on the future of jobs and how to answer the demands of the market. The market has changed drastically and it will continue to change in the future. Companies in Macedonia need to rethink their relationship to the workforce and reimagine their workforce to better fit the global and local developments and trends of emerging technologies and business processes. Forbes’ article suggests that it would be better for them “to focus more on specific tasks and activities, and not entire jobs”. This implies that a more immediate action is required rather than a complete rethinking of one’s profession, meaning the development of new skills will be sufficient to re-engage with the existing job trends and professions. And Brainster is already there, doing that.

Learn more about Brainster’s Bootcamps here.

Check out our blog here.

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