“The future of work is bright!” says Minister of Labour and Social Partnership Relations, Colin Jordan.
This was his emphatic conclusion, last Saturday, as he wrapped up a presentation on The Future of Work: A Barbados Perspective to members of the Barbados Association of Office Professionals (BAOP), at the Radisson Aquatica Resort, Aquatic Gap, St. Michael.
The occasion was the BAOP’s 45th Anniversary Gala, Installation & Name Change Ceremony, and though admitting he could not prophesy the future, Minister Jordan, said: “Barbados and Barbadians are well placed to be a part of this bright future. We just need to reach out and grasp the opportunities that will be available.”
At the outset, the Labour Minister alluded to the retrenchment exercise and noted the contemporary situation had shown Barbados encountering the future of work.
Explaining further, he said: “As we sought, as a new Government, to rescue our country from what was the brink of economic collapse and to create the platform for future growth, we engaged in a process where some persons were separated from employment in the public sector. It was unfortunate; it was painful to those persons who were separated; painful to those of us who were policy makers in that decision.
“Many of those persons were clerk/typists and steno/typists. This decision was based on two premises: One was the fact that technology had overtaken many of the responsibilities of those job titles and functions, and the other was that, because of their existing skill sets – using the computer, those persons would be best able to be retrained in new jobs – the jobs of the future.”
Reflecting on what the “jobs of the future” and the “future of work in Barbados” could be, Mr. Jordan reminded the association that technology was currently the buzz, and “increasingly, functions that were once people-intensive will become automated”.
He also stated that technology was changing and advancing so quickly that it was impossible to know what the next 10 years would bring.
BAOP members heard of myriad opportunities in new and emerging industries such as the Orange Economy – the Cultural and Creative Industries, the Knowledge Economy, the Gig Economy, the Care Economy, the Green Economy and the Blue Economy and Sports as a business.
And, Mr. Jordan pointed out that these would bring career opportunities, allow people to work from home, have flexible hours, and allow for the movement of workers across boundaries and industries.