Comment: The future of work must be shaped now

During the pandemic, some jobs have become more flexible, others harder, and many have disappeared. And there are much larger challenges that already require answers.

Between the light at the end of the Corona tunnel and the threatening shadow of the Ukraine war, this should be Labor Day Labor Day Not just a break, but also a pause for thought. In what direction will the professional world develop in the future? To what extent can we influence that?

These are concerned as much as they are open questions, one thing that is certain is that the changes will be massive. There are scant vows now in offices, which are filling up again after a large-scale home office attempt forced by the pandemic. But only slowly, because many employees want to continue working from home at least partially. With a shortage of skilled workers in many areas of the economy, companies can no longer resist their employees’ desire for more flexibility.

Corona’s effects on the world of work are complex

In the United States of America Millions of women and men have already left their jobs and are looking for new jobs that promise better pay or more fulfillment. In this country, some believe that employees are now under control and that even four days a week with full pay compensation can be imposed. But this euphoria is short-sighted. Already traces aura So complex, a home office is not a problem for those who work in care, production, construction or trade.

In large parts of the economy, only short-time work and other support measures funded by the state with billions of euros have prevented mass unemployment. On the other hand, employees in clinics or in the grocery store worked on the attack.

The consequences of Ukraine’s war on industry are hardly predictable

Many self-employed people, including musicians or artists, have had to give up during the social stagnation caused by the pandemic. Gastronomy or tourism companies fired chefs or waiters. Now that things are on the rise again, they are lost, as many of them have taken new jobs in the meantime. For example in the email ordering business, which is booming during the pandemic.

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Corona is not yet defeated, and the next crises are already close. The effects of the Ukraine war can only be predicted at the beginning. If Russian gas becomes more expensive or no longer flows at all, important sectors such as the chemical industry could quickly collapse. International instability and inflation pose enormous risks, especially for Germany, the world champion in exports. Even before the war, major industries such as the automobile industry were facing major disruptions. Some of the domestic leaders are technically behind the US electric car leader Tesla.

Technological advances threaten many jobs

Thousands of jobs are at risk in the supplier industry because electric vehicles require far fewer parts than combustion engines. Rapid advances in digital and technology have the potential to cause sudden disruption to entire industries. If self-driving vehicles make a breakthrough, there will be no need to drive trucks, buses, taxis, ships and planes. In general, AI can make many jobs, even those with higher qualifications, unnecessary.

Wherever there are risks, there are also opportunities. Machines can take on boring or physically demanding activities that relax and support people, making jobs more profitable and more satisfying. In general, the work will not run out, but many will be postponed. People with dying professions can find new jobs in the field of care or in the field of renewable energies, but this requires enormous efforts in training and additional education.

Premium Home Office vs. Precarious Work: It Shouldn’t Get That Far

Compared to the challenges ahead for the world of work, the consequences of the pandemic will look like a piece of cake. So this is not the time when companies and employees should measure their strength. It must now between a joband unions and Policy Start the discussion about how to ensure that as many people as possible get good, decently paid and satisfactory jobs in the future. Whether it can be done from home, in the office, in the factory or in the shop is of secondary importance.

Because the gradual division of society into the privileged home-office gentry of high wages and a growing army of people in precarious jobs who feel more and more being left behind would be toxic to our democracy.

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