Growing together…….lifting others

Commentaries on the “Future of work”

A live session of AfREN for food scientists and agribusiness professionals held 22nd January, 2022


Session 1: Paper review by Abdul quadri Alaka (PhD candidate, Massey University, New Zealand)

  Session 2: Future of work   Ayo Muritala, Performance Management Expert

    Moderator: Namzamo Magano (Phd candidate, University of Pretoria)

Paper review: Observations on the use of statistical methods in Food Science and Technology.

  • Statistics play a vital role in food science and technology research, however, statistics is often misused.
  • The application of statistical analyses should be customized to the objective of the study.
  • Attention should be paid to the normality of data sets.
  • Review articles should engage a more concise and conversational approach.
  • Researchers are encouraged to pay attention to the homoscedasticity of their data
  • Anova is not always the statistical procedure to follow in data comparison
  • Correlation doesn’t always mean causation
  • Choice of statistical software may affect the outcome of statistical analyses

Future of work- Characteristics

  • The Covid-19 pandemic moved us faster and closer to the future of work we anticipated
  • Industry today aims to connect all production means towards a real time interaction
  • Innovation is disrupting almost every industry around the world
  • Most basic daily activities that used to be physical are being done virtually today
  • Productivity is no more about physical presence. Deployment of technology and skills drive efficiency in the new order.
  • Web tools are now available to project teams to work together from anywhere in the world without meeting each other.
  • Office spaces and buildings are getting irrelevant as lower spaces are now required to get things done.
  • Gig economy is growing rapidly
  • Duration of work is flexible- now depends on how much you can achieve than how long you spend on it.
  • Easy accessibility to informal education. No one truly have an excuse to remain uneducated. Skilling up for occupation and the industry need is vital.

Drivers of Change

  1. Workforce generation
  2. More educated and enlightened
  3. Less unionized
  4. Collaborative rather than competitive
  5. Collaboration is encouraged by the virtual world.
  6. You cannot remain competitive in the fourth industrial revolution as everything works together not against each other.
  7. Be borderless in thoughts and mindset
  8. Develop collaborative skills
  9. Develop creative thinking and innovative skills
  • Employment landscape
  • Division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms
  • Beyond professionalism, management competency is key
  • As a food scientist, you cannot limit your thoughts to the scientific aspect of work only but also expand into the management and process aspect to help build a sustainable business and enterprise around the products of scientific knowledge.
  • Be flexible and adaptable to changes in trends in your profession
  • Many jobs will soon be irrelevant and no longer exist

Jobs of the future in food science and agribusiness space

Unless your job remains critical and relevant, you may be out of job if you do not expand your skills, unlearn, relearn, retool and reskill as may be necessary. Some relevant jobs for the future include:

Agri-food logistic scientist, AI technologist in Agrifood systems, instrumentation technologist, monitoring and evaluation specialist, drone expert, Programmable logic controller, Agrifood big data scientist, freelance research scientist, extinct species revivalist, alternative energy consultant, nanotech engineer and lots more.

Recommendation for budding food scientists and agribusiness professionals

  • Data is the new life
  • Collaborative skills is highly needed to stay relevant
  • Short courses are available on different platforms
  • Knowledge combination helps to complement where you are lacking
  • Identify your skill gap and find out where you can learn the skill
  • Avoid doing everything or trying to learn everything at once
  • Set a timeline to learn the skill
  • Draw a road map to achieve your goals
  • Set your KPI but never compare your KPI with others. The paths are different
  • Avoid being boxed in
  • Don’t let what you do counter the progress of what you should be


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