This news is welcome to a lot of people who desire to be free from being fixed in an office space, and the new frontier of freelancing offers a lot. It is scary for some people also, as their safety nets have been their regular jobs. The key thing is having the necessary skillset to survive in this time.


Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Unknown

Freelancing is the new gold; jobs are so old school! In 2018, a lot more people are making steady incomes from gigs. It is clear from this trend that it is more valuable to invest further in human capital development to remain competitive in the global economy. The way we view jobs has radically changed.

This news is welcome to a lot of people who desire to be free from being fixed in an office space, and the new frontier of freelancing offers a lot. It is scary for some people also, as their safety nets have been their regular jobs. The key thing is having the necessary skillset to survive in this time.

I didn’t understand how big this change has become until I noticed the shift among millennials from going after 9 to 5 jobs, to focusing on what they term as ‘hustling’ in Nigeria, which means that they have a number of side jobs (gigs) that they work on for extra income, which they are now dependent on.

It’s gotten to the point where more businesses in Nigeria and across Africa are giving their employees the opportunity to work from whatever location they find desirable. These flexible work arrangements have been facilitated by technology, making communication easier via messenger services, through which chat, voice and videos interactions are available.

There are less full-time jobs now, while more part-time, temporary and freelance work are easily procurable. A lot of small business enterprises are fully dependent on flexible workers. The automation of jobs like secretarial work or inventory keeping is on the rise, even as highly skilled workers are more in demand than ever though.

Adjusting to these changes will be critical for navigating the future of work.

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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank consortium, is conducting a global survey of organisations that will roll out in 2019, of forecasts for what skills the future of work will require and how employees can arm themselves appropriately.

The World Economic Forum has stated that more than two-thirds of the children starting school currently will end up working in jobs that don’t exist presently. Lifelong learning is a necessity for economic survival; and one thing that works to the benefit of millennials is that a lot of learning is digital now.


There are a couple of suggestions culled from research and lessons from findings mulled upon at conferences focused on this issue, which include the need to:

Incorporate unconventional qualifications: More employers are focused on skills, not degrees. This has given way to the acceptance of certificates for specific proficiencies. It is a fantastic way for economically disadvantaged people to empower themselves by taking free or cheap courses through several of the varying learning programmes that take less time to complete, such as online courses, nanodegrees, micro-credentials and stackable credentials.

Focus on instilling life-long learning: The World Economic Forum has stated that more than two-thirds of the children starting school currently will end up working in jobs that don’t exist presently. Lifelong learning is a necessity for economic survival; and one thing that works to the benefit of millennials is that a lot of learning is digital now.

Entrepreneurship education should be embraced: As a freelancer, an element of risk is involved. Teaching our children to have an entrepreneurial mindset should begin early so that they become people who are able to be successful due to learning to manage risks.

Build resilience (grit) Teach grit: Psychologist Angela Duckworth is one person I admire greatly for her ground-breaking research on teaching grit to children. This has been instrumental to a lot of the work that I do with children focusing on the long term. This capacity to stick to an objective for a long time, is important in determining being able to thrive in a dynamic global economy.

Focus on STEM skills (21st century skills): These are an infusion of technical and non-0technical skills, such as problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, as well as numeracy. IT savviness is what the future of work would require.

Adetola Salau, Carismalife4U@gmail.com, an advocate of STEM education, public speaker, author, and social entrepreneur, is passionate about education reform.