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Cognizant names 21 locations that will epitomise the future of work

Wed 17 Mar 2021

Asia Pacific cities such as Wellington, Da Nang, Shenzhen, Songdo, Haidian Qu, and Kochi are just some of the places that will shape the future of work, based on their growing technology workforce and even eclipsing widely respected places like Silicon Valley.

That’s according to a new report from Cognizant’s Centre for the Future of Work, which posits that jobs of the future come from places you wouldn’t necessarily expect.

The report names 17 geographic locations and four ‘omnisphere’ locations across Remotopia, Nova Hanseatica, Virtual space, and Outer Space - the latter four being described as ‘places of the future’.

“This report is a map to the future. We’ve learned from the success of other places around the world like New York, Sydney, and London that are booming and look to these new places to fuel tomorrow’s workforce,” comments Cognizant Future of Work vice president Robert Brown. 

Amongst the cities listed in New Zealand’s own Wellington, which is credited for its ‘booming’ tech startup scene and investments in smart grids, as well as green infrastructure. 

The report states, “Wellington, New Zealand’s early investment in creating a cloud-based, IoT-infused digital replica of its physical self hastened its rebuild following a major 2016 earthquake, setting the stage for jobs of the future like ‘cyber city analysts’ and ‘VR journey builders’.”

Other cities such as Vietnam’s Da Nang also feature on the list. Da Nang offers a business incubator, an Information Technology Park expected to create 25,000 jobs, and it’s also setting up a business incubator.

“Da Nang is already one of the most popular destinations for digital nomads. As travel bans eventually ease, and remote working remains prevalent, more travellers and digital nomads will likely make it the Remotopia hub for the region,” the report notes.

Remotopia is a term used to cover anyone who works remotely, from any location in the world.  Remotopia could potentially save employers US$11,000 and employees could save US$3,000 according to statistics from Global Workplace Analytics.

The report states, “Despite concerns about isolation or loneliness, the data overwhelmingly suggests that people working from home are happier and more productive. Companies lagging behind on work-from-home policies and support structures risk losing the arms race of talent acquisition in the future of work.”

Nova Hanseatica is a name for ‘places of mutual affiliation’ - or the new kinds of economic zones creating opportunities and taking power away from national governments, particularly in Europe.

Outer Space could also be a viable future of work, particularly due to the rise of commercial space travel and transportation, space lodgings, and even permanent bases on the moon. Space development is booming - 2019 statistics from the United States FAA pegged the international space economy to be worth US$400 billion.

Finally, virtual space refers to virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and artificial intelligence as they develop new locations that look like the physical world, without restrictions of time and space. However, there are concerns: addiction and privacy need to be properly managed - not to mention ethics. Statista research states more than 170 million users worldwide currently use virtual reality - and IDC research predicts a 46% market growth in VR headsets this year.

“As we all look to get beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges, people will gravitate to the new places we’ve identified that are hotbeds of innovation and ideas and are enjoyable to work and live in,” concludes Brown.

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