Experts foresee that the traditional desk job will come to an end, saying entrepreneurship is key and young people have to be prepared.
Young people who want to survive the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) need to explore options outside the realms of the traditional, according to an expert.
At last week’s Digital Economy Summit, South Africans were encouraged by the government’s comments and commitment to look forward to the revolution and introduce cutting-edge technologies, such as fifth-generation mobile internet connectivity (5G).
Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said the government would finalise and review key policy frameworks such as the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, in order to make them responsive and adaptive to 4IR.
She added that a recent study by the World Economic Forum and Accenture estimated that investment in the digital transformation of government and industry in SA would result in an economy-wide value of R5 trillion and roughly 4-million jobs.
It was not clear whether these were traditional jobs.
However, experts agreed that entrepreneurship was key in the digital age and young people had to be prepared.
Spartan SME Finance chief executive Kumaran Padayachee said: “The role of entrepreneurs in 4IR is paramount. 4IR is about being creative, disruptive, looking at new technologies and the broad implications thereof. Entrepreneurship is at the core of this, because it’s the space where invention comes to the fore.
“The younger generation should realise that to participate in 4IR, even if they are not thinking about it formally, they need to hone in on the skills that are going to be relevant to the future.
“Entrepreneurs bring new perspective … they aren’t afraid of the new. Of course, some countries are more predisposed to innovation than others.
“Entrepreneurs will always play a foundational role … We have to think differently about how we do things. 4IR gives us an opportunity to kick start our economy – we should embrace it.”
Country manager for Africa at Young Living, Kemble Morgan, said: “It is my opinion that while traditional jobs have relevance presently, many experts have foreseen that the desk job will soon come to an end, given the 4IR and current landscape work life and business are undergoing.
“I’m not sure traditional jobs will ever come to an end. But the youth needs to prepare by learning about opportunities which will best be able to serve them in a changing landscape.”
This commentary first appeared in The Citizen.