As technology develops at an accelerated pace, cognitive abilities and tasks that were once thought to be reserved for humans are increasingly being carried out by machines, causing growing concern about the impact on jobs and the subsequent risks for business and people. In addition, globalization, demographics, climate change and geopolitical transformations are already making a significant impact on the work landscape.
There is a window of opportunity now for individuals and businesses to understand and proactively manage the transition to a new future. To understand this and more, we have Yeoh Sai Yew, Group Director, People Department at VietJet Air, who shares about the changing world of work in Southeast Asia in an interaction with People Matters.
Here are the excerpts of the interview.
How would you describe your view of the future of work? How it is going to be different for Southeast Asia from the rest of the world?
By looking at the trend of industrialization from “Steam Engine” to “Electricity”, it roughly took 100 years from one phase to another. However, from Industrialization 3.0 with the introduction of computer programing, it took only 40 years to move to Industrialization 4.0 where Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are the driving force.
Digital and Big Data will be the trend now and in the future. Growing digital companies such as Grab, Lazada, Traveloka, etc. is proof that Southeast Asia (SEA) will be one of the leading nations in the era of digital. Further, the digital economy of SEA will take a slingshot towards growth due to its dominating millennial population who are also known as “digital natives”. If we look at ASEAN as a single economy, it’s the 5th largest economy in the world and more than 50 percent of the population are under 30 years old. With the growth of digital technology and the young workforce in ASEAN, we can foresee that the adaptation rate on Industrialization 4.0 might be faster than the other parts of the world.
What are some talent and business changes you are observing in the aviation industry?
We can also see a lot of rapid changes in the aviation industry, such as Self Check-In Kiosk, Self Check-In Luggage and Facial ID Recognition Check-In at Immigration are becoming more common.
From the recent Paris Air Show, Airbus had announced that they had the technology to fly passenger jets without pilots. However, there’s a need for interaction with the regulators and the perception in the traveling public. However, this might just be a matter of time before we can see this is becoming a reality.
With all these developments, we can see that jobs which required human monitoring will become less as this will be taken over by AI. However, that doesn’t mean that there will be a rise in the unemployment rate. It’s just shifting the job from one sector to another. In this case, more programmer or big data analyst may require. We can see the same trend when we moved from one Industrialization era to another. Productivity increased, but there’s no increase in the unemployment rate, in fact, it had improved the unemployment rate in certain countries.
Growing digital companies such as Grab, Lazada, Traveloka, etc. is proof that Southeast Asia will be one of the leading nations in the era of digital
How the future of work will redefine talent management policies and rules?
AI and Digital have made the world virtually become borderless. As such, the organization can no longer able to work in a silo or with single culture mentality. Any organizational planning or direction it should not be run away from diversity inclusiveness. For company’s that’s from countries where English is not widely used, they should prepare their staff with the English adequate proficiency as whether we like it or not, English is still the Global language besides the local or regional language of certain countries.
What are some of the talent challenges Southeast Asia is facing with future of work? How it is different for the aviation industry?
As the world is gearing towards digitization, talent with digital know-how is very important. In general, besides more developed country such as Singapore, where there is a pool of digital and big data-savvy workforce, most of the countries in SEA are still lack of this talent. There are not much differences between Aviation or other businesses where understanding customers via big data is a necessity. As such, talent war in this sector is inevitable. It’s like the talent war on IT personnel in the 90s. This is where the private sector and government need to work together to churn out sufficient workforce to cater to future demands and cross-country talent transfer is something that will be ongoing.
The number of jobs which required human monitoring will reduce with the advancement of AI. However, that doesn't mean that there will be a rise in the unemployment rate. We will require more programmer or big data analyst in future
How VietJet Air is preparing for the future of work? What are your top priorities in the context of future of work?
To keep up with the changing demands of work, our immediate priorities would be to ensure that we have the talent to fit our demand. To achieve it, VietJet is working on mapping the Job Competencies (current and future) against the Individual Competencies. We also have a special training program to either move the talent to the right field where he/she deems fit or coach or train them to close the competency gap.
Continuous learning and upgrading ourselves for the future is a priority for us and at VietJet we always believe that learning is a never-ending journey. As such, we always encourage our employees to seek new or enhanced knowledge. We also encourage them to explore new area out of their comfort zone to realize their full potential.