, October 26, 2021

Anywhere jobs and global citizens hit hybrid working wall


  •   4 min reads
Anywhere jobs and global citizens hit hybrid working wall

Is the future of work anywhere jobs or hybrid working? And is there room for global citizens in this world?

Immigration! To say it is controversial is like saying the sun is quite hot. The economic data suggests immigration is good for the economy, but some domestic workers may lose out. In the era of remote working, might the debate flip? Might it no longer be manual workers who face competition from migrants, but highly educated office workers, such as software engineers, accountants, graphic designers who might face a quite different type of competition — from anywhere jobs. It is not immigrants that are in competition with domestic workers in this era of remote working; it is anyone, anywhere in the world.

Imagine there’s no country

To be clear, this is a good thing. The economist Michael Clemens says that if we removed all borders, allowed the free flow of people everywhere on the planet, global GDP would increase by $78 trillion. He says 'there are trillion dollars bills on the sidewalk'.

Remote working is a step in the direction of a world without borders, not literally so, but a virtual world without borders, in which the ether is the working environment.

Whether it is digital nomads, who work from a different location every few months, perhaps via Airbnb, homegrown workers who fancy living in another country, or workers from another country altogether, globalisation takes on a quite new flavour when it involves remote working.

Are digital nomads on the rise?

Becoming a global citizen feels quite glamorous, and there is no doubt that if we were all took on the mentality of global citizens, the world would be more prosperous and peaceful. John Lennon was right to imagine there is no country.

Talking of John Lennon, maybe people who do anywhere jobs will be more like nowhere men and women

Anywhere jobs

There will however be losers. According to the Tony Blair Institute of a Global Change, “18 per cent of all jobs across the UK’ are at risk from anywhere jobs"; this equates to “5.9 million jobs mainly in ICT, financial and professional services, in London and the South East.”

Ironically one of the jobs at risk is ‘economist.’ It is ironic because most economists support immigration and recognise how borders suck productivity out of the world, but when it is their job on the line, maybe they will feel differently.

Of course, these highly skilled workers can compete — they could live in their home country, whether it is the UK, US or wherever, and work remotely for a company based anywhere in the world.

The reality, of course, is that it is remote workers from countries with a much lower cost of living who pose the biggest threat to domestic workers across the advanced world. If, as a freelancer, you have ever pitched for work on a freelance website, such as People Per Hour or Fiverr, you will understand; you may think a specific task should be charged out at say $1,000, and you spot rival bidders quoting $50.

Hybrid working

But there is a barrier; it is called hybrid working.

According to a LinkedIn survey of 2,014 UK based professionals, forty four per cent said that “their employer would like them in the office 1-2 days a week.” Thirty-six per cent said they would be required in the office 3-4 days a week. Furthermore, some employers (said 35 per cent of respondents,) “have already decided which days employees must be present, with Mondays and Tuesdays set to be the busiest.”

So might hybrid working become a barrier to anywhere jobs? You can’t work remotely from, say Goa, if you are expected to be in the office every Monday and Thursday.

The LinkedIn survey also found that 22 per cent of respondents were excited about returning to the office, 30 per cent were anxious, and 49 per cent would prefer hybrid working.

Meanwhile, according to Bloomberg, almost half of London based firms whose staff can work from home expect them to do so full time.

Or, to put it another way, the 'evidence' is all over the place.

One assumes that commuters who travel more than, say, 90 minutes a day feel more positive about remote working than those whose daily commute is relatively painless.

Darwinian selection

However, certain points are being overlooked. For example, companies that embrace either working from home or hybrid working are at an advantage. For one thing, they will have an advantage in the highly competitive labour market.  For another thing, in due course, they will have lower overheads.

And in the longer term, companies that can favourably compete in labour markets and have lower overheads will win. In this way, by Darwinian selection, remote working will be adopted.

Hybrid working versus Anywhere Jobs

As for the clash between hybrid working and anywhere jobs, it will be a case of some and some.

Hybrid working may be preferable to working full time from the office, but anywhere jobs will triumph in certain areas.

And the rise of anywhere jobs will afford emerging markets a massive advantage.

As UiPath’s Guy Kirkwood told Techopian, much of UiPath’s success had been down to its adoption of MOOCs — massive open online courses. Universities are also embracing MOOCs because they want to attract top talent. After all, universities attract money by creating IP. For that, you want the best talent in the world, and you need to accommodate the location of that talent.

See: 17 minutes 46 seconds in 

Digital tech creates an opportunity for developing and the emerging world

Digital technologies create an incredible opportunity for emerging and developing markets to close the gap with the West.

A smaller gap between the rich and poor world will be a good thing, the challenge for the West will be ensuring the gap only narrows because the poorer half of the planet is getting richer, and not because the rich half is getting poorer, as it fails to compete in a world with flatter borders.

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