We need to ask ourselves if decent work constitutes a six-month stint at a job only for a person to be out of work again, says the writer. Picture: Phill Magakoe
It's no longer a secret. The 4th Industrial Revolution is here and job descriptions have rapidly changed over the years.

For those who have benefited from the first and second industrial revolutions or those who embraced the changes of the third revolution, much adaptation has been needed, and still is.

This includes individuals and companies adjusting their mindsets and skills to match the era of artificial intelligence.

The 2018/2019 Global Wage report recently indicated that the global wage declined by 1.8% in 2017 compared with the 2.4% figures in 2016.

The report found that the downward spiral was also prevalent in G20 countries, while there was some steady wage growth in emerging G20 developing countries.

And while this paints a bleak picture, whether one hires a personal social media manager to run an Instagram, Twitter or Facebook account or an individual is equipped with skills and knowledge in robotics, Goal 8 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals calls for world leaders to ensure citizens in their respective countries have access to decent work and that their countries realise economic growth by 2030 - a mere 11 years from now.

But what is decent work, and can it be achieved with so many people tussling for resources?

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), “decent work involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families”.

The ILO further points out that decent work ensures there are “better prospects for personal development and social integration”, as well as ensuring that people are granted freedom to express their concerns and participate in decision making that affects their lives.

With South Africa’s unemployment rate sitting at 29%, it is important that as a country we deconstruct their idea of what decent work for all really means.

We need to ask ourselves if decent work constitutes a six-month stint at a job only for a person to be out of work again.

We need to establish how programmes created to address unemployment will meet the description set out by the ILO.

Our Department of Labour is far too quiet. Perhaps the time has come for the department to come on board with effective campaigns that will create awareness around labour practices in South Africa.

Creating permanent employment is often difficult, but work has to be created nonetheless.

The World Economic Forum Future Jobs Report states that “ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet, artificial intelligence, widespread adoption of big data analytics and cloud technology are set to dominate the workforce between now and 2022”.

It said jobs currently in demand going into future work include “data analysts, software and application developers, e-commerce and social media specialists”.

Also expected to grow is the demand for customer service workers, sales and marketing professionals, training and development specialists, as well as organisational development skills specialists.

Our school curricula also need to adapt to the essential skills for future work so as to equip our children for the future workplace.

It also means that those who are already working should be flexible and learn how to succeed as entrepreneurs. Everyone needs to come on board. Every person needs to establish what new jobs they will create for generations to come.

* Mokati is the group development content editor at Independent Media.