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Unravelling Unemployment

Updated: May 5, 2022

Over the past 12 months, there has been an increasing concern about job losses, amongst friends and family. As per World Bank Data, unemployment has increased by 20% over the past 2 years itself. It’s really easy to attribute this to the pandemic. But, could it be remotely possible, that the real cause could be lurking somewhere else?

As on January 29, 2021, according to the ILO’s global survey, unemployment was 6.47% of total global workforce. Here, ‘unemployment’ refers to, the share of the labour force that is without work but seeking employment. However, given our own experience, these figures feel uncomfortably low. This could, be because they do not reveal the whole picture. We need to look into the assumptions in detail. Maybe this process, will reveal the actual cause of unemployment, based on which we may better navigate our way ahead.

Some of the key exclusions from the numbers are:

  1. If an unemployed person has given up on finding a job for some duration of time, most indicators consider them as 'employed'. Further, women having part time/ temporary jobs are also considered employed.

  2. Secondly it's difficult to measure unemployment in many sectors like as their activities are not tracked like agriculture. In the self-employed category, around half of the members, earn merger salaries. When added to part-time workers, "real" unemployment could affects nearly 1/3rd of the workforce.

  3. Lastly, just being employed is not enough! Humans, also need fulfilling careers. People who are really engaged at work, work efficiently. Disengaged employees on the other hand, carry the risk of prospective unemployment.

Looking from this perspective, it's evident that even prior to the onset of the pandemic, actual work ‘engagement’ has been on a steady decline. This can be juxtaposed with the rapid increase in automation and data processing. Clearly, automation is quickly taking over our traditional jobs.

Maybe the pandemic is not the cause, but has only accelerated this process.

Looking forward, we can of course, lament our fate. But having said that, nothing we do, can slow down the relentless pace of automation.

If that be the case, we are left with no other choice but to reinvent ourselves and embrace technology

Reinvention is required, beyond the traditional job roles we were all educated into. Decisions, can no longer be based on Google searches, as computers can search much faster. Humans have to access ‘in-sight’. Reactions to challenges cannot be limited to binary fight-flight responses. That is the native operating system of computers. Humans need to operate in the realm of possibilities, by accessing deeper humane faculties. At first instance, all this may sound absurd. However let's not forget, that it’s the same feeling that our ancestors were confronted with, when they were first confronted with the industrial revolution. It’s time for reinvention again. This time too, we need to tap into are our deeper faculties for ‘in-tuition’ and ‘in-novation’. Many of today’s industry visionaries are pioneers in this field. They have been the first to recognise that enduring ‘human engagement’ is the key to success. They utilise automation, to ensure that their customers ‘feel cared for’. In short, they know how to wisely manage their time by directing their attention, to what really matters. With this background, it’s up to each us, to embark on our own very own voyage of self-discovery. A journey to gather greater insight and intuition, so that we can be adequately skilled to meet the 'new normal'. A time when just being 'employed' will not be enough, being 'engaged', is key. If you enjoyed reading this , subscribe below for future insights directly into your mailbox.

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