Employment, Employability, and Entrepreneurship

Employment, Employability, and Entrepreneurship

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6130-1.ch009
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Employment and employability are some of the most important problems that people with disabilities face throughout their lives. Employers are often afraid or unaware of the abilities that people with disabilities might have for a specific position, and they misjudge and mistreat them. Such perceptions need to change, and new technologies and trends in the work environment such as the Bring Your Own Device can help in improving conditions for people with disabilities. Moreover, the need for more inclusion and assistive technologies in work environments is now becoming more evident by the ageing population that is still employed due to the increase of retirement age in many countries. This chapter discusses those issues and how technology together with relevant policies can help in decreasing unemployment rates for people with disabilities.
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In September-October 2011 the Economics Intelligence Unit (The Economist Group, 2014) surveyed 567 executives from all major industry sectors and all parts of the globe, for their opinions on how technology would change business between now and 2020. The survey entitled “Frontiers of Disruption: The next decade of technology in business” (The Economist Group, 2011) was released in 2012 and is available on the website of the Economist.

Almost 60% of executives feel that the vertical markets in which they will operate in 2020 will bear little or no resemblance to those in which they operate today. 70% expect to see a high degree of convergence between previously distinct business sectors. Many fear that their own company may no longer exist in 2020.

More than half of ICT executives fear that their company will not be able to keep up with change and will have lost their competitive edge by 2020. Apart from education and public administration, executives in all sectors consider that the main drivers of change will be:

  • A relentless drive for efficiency and

  • accelerated rates of change to business models,

  • enabled by big-data.

All of these changes, especially the increasingly rapid change in business models will increase the need for training and learning on the job, at all levels of the organization.

Overall executives believe that people will work longer hours than today and more years, mainly out of necessity due to the erosion of pensions.

This suggests that over the next 10 years, we will see not only the ageing of society, but the ageing of the work-force. The challenge of maintaining the productivity of workers as they age despite a natural decline in physical and even cognitive capabilities will become more important, as it will have a bigger impact on overall competitiveness of the company.

80% of executive across all domains and regions either agree or strongly agree that the working environment will become almost entirely virtual. In other words almost all data and information people work with will be in electronic format. Many believe that there will be a vast reduction or even a disappearance of non-digitized information in the work-place. Most workers will rely on a single network-enabled, cloud-connected device.

This suggests that the ability to efficiently and competently use this main access device may be a deciding factor in the employability of the worker. It suggests that by 2020 the access gap could become an even greater barrier to work-force entry or promotion for people with disabilities than it is today.

Despite most work being conducted in a virtual environment, this does not mean that most work will become telework. 50% of executives surveyed either disagree or strongly disagree with the assertion that the majority of workers will work from home rather than a traditional office.

The barriers to employment experienced by people with mobility problems will remain and will not be rendered insignificant by a teleworking trend.

One of the biggest and most significant shifts however is a shift in how innovation happens. When asked to rate the most important source of innovative ideas now and in 2020, the response of the executives surveyed showed a major shift away from R+D as the major source of ideas to customers - both B2B and B2C, online communities an emerging markets.

Table 1.
Trends on the main sources of ideas (The Economist Group, 2011)
Main Source of Ideas20112020
R+D Department38%118%3
Employees (non R+D related)12%47%6
Online Communities6%519%2
Emerging Markets5%69%4
Other Industries1%8/92%8
Don’t Know1%8/91%9

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