In the post-COVID-19 world, entrepreneurs have no option but to upskill

If entrepreneurs don’t continuously upskill themselves, they won’t be able to harness the power of their ideas to fruition.

Business models are getting disrupted on a daily basis in the last three months. Companies selling cars are manufacturing PPE kits and ventilators, anyone with an ecommerce tag is trying to sell groceries, travel companies have started virtual tours, and educators have learnt how to teach online overnight.

While most of this disruption has been driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is little doubt that drivers of transformation are only going to get intense and more frequent in the coming decades. These will create entirely new industries and jobs.

Individuals who have an entrepreneurial bent of mind will have no option but to continuously keep learning and upskilling themselves if they want to stay relevant in tomorrow’s world.

A January 2020 World Economic Forum report titled, Jobs of Tomorrow: Mapping Opportunity in the New Economy, says “96 jobs across seven professional clusters are fast emerging in tandem reflecting ‘digital’ and ‘human’ factors driving growth in the professions of tomorrow”.

While entrepreneurs are able to spot changing trends across society and identify new problems that need to be solved, it is imperative that they understand the new skillsets that will be required to solve these problems.

These new challenges will present themselves in a myriad of ways. Just look at the kinds of companies that didn’t exist before 2005: mobility, hospitality, co-working spaces, podcasts. Look at the jobs that didn’t exist before 2009: social media manager, app developer, podcast producer, telemedicine doctor, driverless car engineer.

If entrepreneurs don’t continuously upskill themselves, they won’t be able to harness the power of their ideas to fruition. They will have to learn and adopt new technologies to be able to thrive in the future.

Here’s a quick look at factors that will create the next new industries and companies of tomorrow:

Rise of the middle class in the emerging world

By 2030, Asia will account for 66 percent of the world’s middle-class population. As the middle class rises, so will consumption. There will be a greater demand in the fields of education, travel, electronic goods, high-end retail, beauty, and FMCGs.

As social distancing becomes part of life, businesses will have to figure out new ways to deliver these services.

Flexible work

Why do I need to go to an office? Why do I need to share space with others? Is an offline office the only kind of office? The pandemic has forced the world to work from home. A lot of companies have realised that working from home doesn’t result in a loss in productivity.

Co-working spaces that were touted as the next big thing in commercial real estate will have to drastically reinvent themselves to survive. Already, some companies are offering services where they set up home offices for current clients. Expect more changes in this space.

Empathy and EQ gain importance

As more of the world starts working from home, current social capital will start to erode.

Empathy training and evaluating Emotional Quotient for candidates will play a huge role in hiring. Companies will have to upskill their people in order to ensure that they follow the CHE principles of Curiosity, Humility, and Empathy.

Climate change

There is no denying the fact that human encroachment into nature is going to cause a lot of challenges for commerce.

Nations and organisations will struggle to find ways to mitigate its effects, and this is going to open up a world of opportunities for new businesses. Expect revolutions in the construction, energy efficiency, transport, and infrastructure space.

Privacy issues

Data will be the most prized possession that companies across the world will kill for (figuratively). Consumers will want to protect their data at all costs. We live in a world where algorithms, machine learning, AI, IoT and robotics are breaking new ground daily.

As tech becomes more ingrained in human lives, privacy protection will play an ever-increasing role. Multiple business opportunities will abound in this sector.

Ageing societies

This is going to present a dual opportunity. As people live to older ages, they will have to work longer. Businesses that are able to harness the power of productive people in their 60s and early 70s will be able to add to their top and bottom lines.

And second, there will be a rise in services that are needed to ensure their quality of life doesn’t suffer. Assisted living, automation, and technology that helps them live better will come into play here.

Education and upskilling

Education will see a boom in the coming decade. Curriculum will have to change to incorporate the changing world across K-12, college, higher education, and vocational courses. There will also be a huge demand for trainers to upskill existing employees.

As all the factors listed above start evolving, they will need people equipped to deal with them.

These six factors are going to lead to a mix of both digital and social skills that professionals will have to equip themselves with to survive and thrive in tomorrow’s world. There will be a greater demand for green economy professionals, data (scientists, miners and analysts), AI, cloud computing, product development and engineering.

On the social front, there will be a boom in the support and care economy space: marketing, sales, human resources, content production, culture managers, and caregivers.

It will be essential for entrepreneurs to identify the skills that they will need in the future and identify the right partners to train them in those skills.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)