Tony Blair’s son and the UK head of Linkedin looked forward to positive changes in the post-pandemic world of work when they joined Tuesday’s online ORT panel.
Euan Blair and Josh Graff joined Olly Olsen, co-founder of The Office Group and Sophie Eden, co-founder of tech recruitment firm, Gordon & Eden, to discuss how the crisis will shape the future of work. The ORT UK virtual business event was media partnered by Jewish News, with BBC journalist Samantha Simmonds moderating.
Blair said: “The pandemic has turned every fundamental assumption people had about work, education and employment on its head and I think that is probably one of the most valuable things to come out of this situation.” He said the new way of remote working has meant that “you don’t need to go to university or have a degree, or work daily in an office or meet your employer to know you want to work for them.”
Graff, who will take over as LinkedIn’s regional managing director next month, said that employers are now looking beyond education and employment experience: “They are recognising that hiring someone based on skills and experience can be equally as powerful and there is a real opportunity to move the labour market forward over the next couple of years.
“I am optimistic that there is some goodness to be extracted from the hardship we have seen over the past 12 months.”
While LinkedIn data shows that women have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic, Sophie Eden believes the pandemic could be “game-changing for diversity”, helping women to progress in their careers. “I hope that not having a traditional 9-5 office day and being able to work flexibly will mean there might be more men at the school gates and really open up opportunities for women.”
And flexibility will be key when it comes to office space going forward, acknowledged Olly Olsen, who forecasts remote working to be up five-fold from 5 % pre-COVID to 25 %. “We expect to see a more relaxed, flexible and fluid approach to work spaces, and flexibility will be the dominant force within real estate.
“The days of rows of desks are gone.”
Commenting on the event, Dan Rickman, CEO, ORT UK, said: “We are delighted and grateful that we’ve been able to continue delivering virtual fundraising events during these challenging times. As an education charity which focuses on training and supporting young people across the globe to fulfil their career potential, we wanted to provide our own community with some optimistic insights into the post-pandemic working world. Our fantastic panel offered us all plenty of food for thought on what to expect in terms of workspace, networking, recruitment and training options, assuring us that the future of work looks bright!”
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