We’ve become accustomed to thinking that technological advances are eliminating jobs and tasks that require low-level professional qualifications. From automated toll booths to supermarket tills, we’re used to the erosion of low paid jobs.
Yet new forms of technology and automation are also making more highly qualified professionals obsolete, like financial analysts, lawyers and tax experts. In 2000, Goldman Sachs employed more than 600 traders. In 2017 only two equity traders were left because algorithms handled by computer engineers could perform the same work. The same thing is happening in all the traditional investment banks on Wall Street. At the same time, everything from self-completing online tax returns to machine learning approaches to accountancy are disrupting jobs in financial services.
So what are the “megatrends” in this evolving job market?
1. Impermanence. Most of the jobs created in advanced economies don’t offer permanent contracts, but involve self-employed or freelance consultants. This means that these people have no social “safety nets” like insurance, medical coverage, social security, or paid vacation. In the US, 94% of the new jobs created from 2005 to 2015 fell into this category, giving these workers no protection at all. This gives rise to growing worker vulnerability on one hand and a challenge to the relevance of trade unions on the other.
2. Life expectancy. The good news: it rises by about two years for every decade that goes by. In Japan, Italy and Germany, life expectancy for women is nearer 90 than 80, while men have now topped 80. But let’s think about two consequences of this. First, can we reasonably expect to enjoy a nice pension for nearly 20 years of our lives? Recently, newspapers reported that in Italy there are more than 700,000 people who have been collecting a pension since 1982. In other words, they’ve been retired for at least 35 years; in most cases longer than they were employed.
Second, we’ve always thought of our lives as divided into three parts. We go to school till we’re around 22-24, work for about 35-40 years, and then comes retirement from age 60 onwards. But we have to rethink this mindset and realize we have a life of continuous learning ahead of us. In previous articles I’ve written that to “beat” machine learning, it’s up to us to become learning machines.
3. New professions. Technology creates more jobs than it destroys, but change is painful. A recent McKinsey study reveals that 56% of new jobs are in brand-new professions. If you take a look at the World Economic Forum’s career page, you’ll see the kinds of professionals we’re looking for: experts in artificial intelligence, the internet of things, specialists in cyber-security, internet governance, social media, start-ups, machine learning, robotics, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, Blockchain and so on. Across the job market, salaries are skyrocketing for new professions and slowly shrinking for traditional ones.
4. Women. They make up 52% of the population, but they’re still underpaid and employed in roles that are below their level of skill and expertise. But I’m convinced that the future belongs to women. Why? Because they tend to possess the human characteristics that will give them the advantage in the new jobs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Like the capacity for collaboration (instead of competition), empathy, creativity, listening and learning.
Given the changes in the job market, we have to redesign organizations as well. We can no longer build and utilize “mechanical” organizations, offspring of the First Industrial Revolution, where the worker was simply considered a replaceable “spare part”. We can’t assume that the bureaucratic models of the public sector will still work either. We have to redesign organizations, keeping in mind that people have to be empowered, not controlled or forced to live with the recurring nightmare of losing their job and giving up a life of dignity.
We can’t pay new university graduates 500 euros a month, or worse, expect them to work for free. Science and psychology provide hundreds of studies and research showing that knowledge workers are motivated by purpose, autonomy, their capacity for self-improvement, and a sense of fairness and transparency. As long as we keep dealing with people using the carrot and the stick, it just won’t work.
The new reality of the Fourth Industrial Revolution forces us to think and act in a new way: we can’t solve new problems by applying old methodologies or outdated mindsets. To truly adapt to the future of work, we will need to be guided by a moral compass, a radar that helps us avoid dangers and allows us to discover opportunities for everybody.
Each day our world is constantly changing and becomes more competitive. Good leaders brings their teams toward progress and success. However, what does it really mean to be a good leader? World-class author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek might have an answer.
Each day our world is constantly changing and becomes more competitive. Good leaders brings their teams toward progress and success. However, what does it really mean to be a good leader? World-class author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek might have an answer.
Sinek suggests that the key element of inspiring team members to strive and aspire, is one of human’s primitive but often neglected needs: a sense of security.
When we feel safe and secure in a group, trust and collaberation come naturally. A sense of security will generally produce these positive effects.
Furthermore, Sinek introduces his concept of “Circle of Safety” to analyze the common leadership problems in modern business management.
“The key to management is to get rid of the managers,” advised Ricardo Semler, whose TED Talk went viral, introducing terms such as “industrial democracy” and “corporate re-engineering”. It’s important to point out that Mr. Semler isn’t an academic or an expert in management theory, he is the CEO of a successful industrial company. His views are unlikely to represent mainstream thinking on organizational design. But perhaps it is time we redefine the term “manager”, and question whether the idea of “management” as it was inherited from the industrial era, has outlived its usefulness.
The World Bank estimates the size of the global workforce at about 3.5 billion people, and by no means would I expect, much less advocate, that those who are employed today will transition into a management-free structure in the near or even medium term. The vast majority of work involving human labor is still best carried out in a traditional organizational structure.
In a world of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity), it is the tech unicorns that will be the early adopters of a post-hierarchical model. In fact, some have already embraced it. Today’s competitive landscape is defined by one word: disruption. The ideas of incremental progress, continuous improvement, and process optimizations just don’t cut the mustard anymore; those practices are necessary, but insufficient. It is now impossible to build enduring success without “intrapreneurship” – creating new ideas from within an organization.
The organizational dilemmas faced by ambitious disruptors are best exemplified by Netflix. Their human resources guru, Patty McCord, identified a problem that appears obvious in retrospect: as businesses grow, so does their complexity. But that comes at a cost of shrinking talent density: the proportion of high-performers within an organization.
The slide deck she developed with the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, went viral, and Sheryl Sandberg referred to it as possibly the most important document to come out of Silicon Valley. That said, Patty McCord did not earn her accolades by identifying problems. What captivated everyone’s imagination were the unorthodox solutions that she offered: “Over the years we learned that if we asked people to rely on logic and common sense instead of on formal policies, most of the time we would get better results, and at lower cost.”
The commentary on Netflix’s corporate culture often focuses on its concrete HR policies, such as self-allotted vacations, and the absence of travel expense reports. But these are just derivatives of a larger vision: high business complexity need not be managed with standard processes and ever-growing rulebook. Culturevon Reed Hastings
Patty McCord advocated the exact opposite: limit the tyranny of procedures, bring on board high-performers, and let them self-manage in an environment of maximum flexibility.
Today, we define management as the process of dealing with or controlling things or people. And if this is not a red flag to a CEO running anything other than a widget factory, I don’t know what is. Controlling things no longer appears plausible, and controlling people is downright counterproductive. Steve Jobs hit the nail on the head when he said: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Apple’s co-founder is rightfully considered one of the greatest visionaries of our time, but had he been born in, say, the 17th century – or even 50 years earlier than he was – I doubt such a pronouncement would have resonated with his contemporaries.
The post-management era is only just beginning to dawn. And it is the ever-accelerating pace of technological progress that is responsible for destroying old paradigms.
Having smart people tell landowners what to do in a pre-industrial society would not have led to better economic outcomes. In the best-case scenario, it would have invited ridicule. There was no evidence to suggest, at the time, that the production and population growth were not one of the same.
While the division of labor was the hallmark of the industrial era, it is becoming increasingly difficult today to parse out and allocate white-collar work in the form of specific tasks. Regardless of how we describe the present, be it the digital epoch, the Fourth Industrial Revolution era, or the “second machine age”, what it boils down to is that all work that requires supervision is being outsourced to robots and algorithms. Non-standard, creative, experimental work, on the other hand, doesn’t naturally lend itself to management.
The second fundamental shift we see now is that a strategy of making a plan and then executing it is no longer viable. What used to be known as “muddling through” is now seen as adapting to the fast-changing environment. Strategy, as we know it, is dead. Dealing with uncertainty is the number one challenge and, as the cliché goes, it’s the number one opportunity too. If your company isn’t the disruptor, it’s a clear sign that it’s about to be disrupted.
The bottom line is that the hierarchical management mode is no longer suited for the challenges of the modern economy. Every pillar of a traditional organization is now in flux, as was brilliantly conceptualized by Tanmay Vora.
The status quo is often protected by the vocabulary of business: directors direct, presidents preside, and managers manage. But all those activities are adding much less value than they used to be. They constrain innovation and stifle creativity in the pursuit of order.
Contextual awareness, peripheral vision, design thinking and a multi-disciplinary approach – these are all terms that are trending in modern office-speak, and deservedly so.
A project-based and titles-free organization — where yesterday’s team member is today’s team lead — can deliver the flexibility and agility that businesses yearn for.
“Context Curator” is the term I’d like to introduce to the business dictionary. To lead a project is not to assign tasks and monitor performance, but to empower, to define the broader context, and to organically link the work of one team with the rest of the business. Following the example of Netflix and striving for higher talent density is only half the battle. Curating the context in which high performers can excel – rather than attempting to manage them – is the key to unleashing their full potential.
A giant golden ball hangs suspended beneath the observatory deck of Taipei 101. This is the “wind damper.” It generates reaction force to negate shock or vibration caused by outside forces, so people inside the skyscraper can live and work in comfort.
Visitors who’ve been to the Taipei 101 Observatory probably noticed the giant golden orb suspended beneath their feet. It is a “wind damper,” also known as a “tuned mass damper.”
Source: Taipei 101
A wind damper is made up of three major components: an oscillating mass (for inertial force), a spring (for elastic restoring force), and a viscodamper (for energy dissipation). At 508 meters in height, the Taipei 101 is a massive skyscraper, and is therefore susceptible to oscillation caused by earthquakes or strong winds.
If the shaking is too violent, office workers and tourists inside the building may experience dizziness and discomfort.
In an article penned by Evergreen Consulting Engineering (永峻工程), which supervised the structural design of Taipei 101, when oscillation caused by wind exceeds 5cm/sec2 , people within the skyscraper will experience discomfort.
However, due to its great height, the vibration experienced by the higher office levels is already 6.2 cm/sec2 in normal weather. The figure shoots up to 7.4cm/sec2 when there’s a typhoon. Both numbers are greater than the recommended 5cm/sec2. Therefore, Taipei 101 needs a wind damper to reduce the vibration caused by high winds.
In fact, many skyscrapers in the world are fitted with wind dampers, such as CN Tower in Toronto, Crystal Tower in Osaka, Centerpoint Tower in Sydney, and Citicorp Center in New York. The 85 Sky Tower in Kaohsiung also has one, as do many high-tech factories. Height is not the only factor; wind speed and oscillation must also be considered.
On September 21st, 2014, Tropical Storm Fung-wong struck Taiwan. The wind damper inside Taipei 101, which was at that time the biggest in the world, experienced a record oscillation of 10 centimeters in both directions between 1:23 and 2:41 in the afternoon.
Currently, the wind damper in Taipei 101 is the second largest in the world. Its diameter measures 5.5 meters, its weight is 660 metric tons. It was made by welding together 41 layers of steel boards, each 12.5 centimeters thick. The cost was 4 million U.S. dollars.
The sheer size and weight of the wind damper made it difficult to move to the construction site, and it was simply impossible for cranes to lift it up to between the 87th and 92nd floors, where it was to be installed. Workers had to send the damper up in smaller pieces, then weld the whole thing together on the spot.
This is one of the only two wind dampers in the world that are open to visitors. Situated between the 87th and 92nd floor, it is an important reason why Taipei 101 is protected against strong winds and earthquakes. It negates up to 40% of the oscillation.
In July of 2013, when Typhoon Soulik made landfall, wind speed in the Taipei area reached Force 14 on the Beaufort scale. At 4:10 in the morning, the wind damper in Taipei 101 experienced an oscillation of 70 centimeters in both directions, the greatest since the building was completed.
On April 18th, 2019, an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale struck Xiulin Township in Hualien. At 1:01 in the afternoon, the wind damper in Taipei 101 swung 20 centimeters in both directions, a record-breaking oscillation that’s caused by an earthquake.
This ingenious protection mechanism prevented people inside the skyscraper from harm or discomfort.
Gender inequality is closely linked to income inequality, which in turn can weaken the sustainability of growth in a country. According to the latest report by International Monetary Fund (IMF), more needs to be done on closing gender wage gaps in both developing and advanced countries.
In the battle for the parity of the sexes, some countries have made progress in reducing inequality—such as in access to health care, education, and financial services—but worldwide, men still have more economic opportunities than women.
Countries can fix the problem with the right policies that reduce the gender wage gap and level the playing field.
Our Chart of the Week, from the latest paper after the G7 Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting, highlights these wage gaps. It measures the differences between men and women’s pay, and considers hours worked, type of employment, education levels, age and experience. Our chart shows that developing and advanced countries alike are in the same predicament.
The chart shows that the wage gap is most pronounced in South Korea, which has a 37 percentage point difference in wages between men and women. The United States and Canada hover at around an 18 percentage point disparity, while Luxembourg comes in at the lower end of the scale, with a 3 percent point wage gap. The G7, which has emphasized and is committed to the need for closing the gender gap, has a wage gap average of about a 16 percentage points.
Gender inequality is directly linked to income inequality, which in turn can weaken the sustainability of growth in a country.
Women getting paid less than men directly contribute to income inequality, and higher gaps in labor force participation rates between men and women result in inequality of earnings, unequal pensions and savings. Closing the gender wage gap can lead to greater equality in the overall income distribution.
The right policies can reduce the gender wage gap.
Overall, to reduce gender inequality and wage gaps, countries should focus on policies that improve education, health, infrastructure, increasing financial inclusion, and promoting equal rights.
In advanced economies and some developing countries, some of the policies that may help reduce wage gaps include:
Offering publicly financed parental leave schemes. Long absences from the workforce to take care of children could lead to lower earnings upon return to work, as well as a reduced skill set.Removing the tax burden for secondary earners (mostly female). Replace family taxation with individual taxation.Use tax credits or benefits for low wage earners. These tax credits would reduce the net tax liability and increase the net income gain from accepting a job.
On average, a US adult spends four hours a day on their phone, leaving a digital trail that enables Amazon to predict what they will buy, Facebook to know their mental state, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to impute their most personal likes and beliefs.
We provide this data willingly for the benefits it brings us. Automated systems allow us to connect globally 24/7; optimise our travel based on real-time traffic conditions; buy anything for next day delivery; see the news we want to see anytime and anywhere; and listen to any music simply by asking for it.
Technologies are also changing the dynamics of power. Social media can galvanise popular opinion and political forces with lightning speed, as illustrated by the recent #MeToo movement.
Peer review sites allow one-person enterprises to compete with the most powerful multinationals. Key social media influencers can shape and steer marketplace trends more profoundly than a global marketing campaign. In sum, technology has unlocked vast new capacity to sense, connect, automate, amplify and augment.
Social media influencers can shape trends more profoundly than a global marketing campaign. (Image: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke)
Business and Government – Relics from a Different Age
Why then have decision-making structures in large organisations changed so little since the industrial revolution? Leaders still base decisions on retrospective data that has percolated up through layers of filtering and consolidation. Decisions are then handed down through progressive layers of management, where they are adjusted to practical realities.
Such a world forces leaders to make educated guesses based on often flawed assumptions, and to have faith rather than evidence that the organisation is doing what leaders decide, and that the results expected are indeed being achieved.
Such a system might be adequate in a reasonably stable environment, but most organisations are now in a constant state of transformation, driving complex, multi-functional programmes to address disruptive change. CEOs often tell us that they have up to 50 strategic programmes in motion at any one time, and say that delivering against these is a real struggle.
Such programmes have fluid objectives, ever changing timelines, and the need for cross-functional collaboration. In an attempt to manage this complexity, programme control systems demand ever more information from teams, diverting time and energy away from their assigned tasks.
Despite this torrent of information demands, when failures occur, leaders often learn that the causes were common knowledge to everyone, except leadership.
Technology can change all of that. What if leaders knew as much about their organisations as Google knows about them? By deploying appropriate technologies, it is possible today for organisations to capture data on practically every interaction and consolidate every performance metric in an organisation.
Analytic tools powered by AI can rapidly probe the resulting mountains of data to identify correlations and make accurate, useful predictions. By applying such technologies, companies can essentially automate many operational decisions, freeing leaders to focus more on areas where human judgement is clearly required.
Automating management offers decisive advantages. As the system knows exactly what everyone is working on and what is being produced, accountability is clear. Performance evaluation can be grounded in contextually relevant data, rather than subjective inference. Coaching and feedback can be automated, tailored to the individual, and delivered exactly when required, making the dreaded annual review cycle obsolete.
All information can be made available to anyone in the organisation who needs it, and collaboration tools can allow instantaneous communication around a single real-time version of the truth.
Dependencies become much clearer, as the impact of actions in one part of the organisation on another are immediately evident. Peer pressure can drive compliance to process and motivate people to meet their commitments. On a day to day basis, the organisation can be made to largely run itself.
The Decoded Company
So, is this science fiction? The New York Times best-seller The Decoded Company describes how a company named Klick has made technology and culture inseparable. A Canadian digital agency specialising in healthcare, Klick has pioneered applying digital technology to 1) provide real-time coaching to enable talent and to automate processes 2) use data as a sixth sense to inform decision-making, and 3) create a talent-centric organisation.
At the core of Klick’s culture and systems is clarity of roles and tasks. A platform developed by the company keeps all its leaders and employees informed on the progress of work and clearly specifies who is accountable for what.
There is a culture of hyper-transparency, where an entire project team can comment on every aspect of their project. Performance feedback happens every week.
And every transaction, interaction, input and outcome is stored in a ‘Wisdom Layer’ of data that enables “gut feel” to be combined with data to inform rich insights. AI brings predictive insights to inform the company whether a contract will be profitable or a recruit will be successful.
This experiment in automating and augmenting practically every aspect of a company has yielded remarkable efficiencies. Klick, an organisation of 700 people, has just five people in finance, no HR department, no annual review process, and remarkably few administrative assistants. It has sustained a consistent 40% annual growth rate, high levels of profitability, less than 3% voluntary attrition (in an industry where rates are typically near 20%), and public recognition for its contributions to broader society.
Klick CEO Leerom Segal says: “Our 20 year experiment in building Klick’s culture is founded in the idea that we can create a virtuous cycle that drives our success. We use rich ambient and self-reported data to create an environment that empowers and engages our people, which helps them deliver the best work of their careers, which gives our clients lots of reasons to give us more work, which helps fund that environment. Key to that cycle is trust that the information and data will be used responsibly, and that we, as leaders, are as open and transparent as we expect our people to be.”
In an age when management of most work processes can be automated, leaders can be freed to focus more of their energies where their judgement and experience truly add value. But they must first embrace new organisational models based on accountability, transparency and collaboration, informed by data.
Leaders aspiring to be great will be challenged to build their understanding of data science, learning how to augment their personal experience, intelligence and insight with rich data sets and predictive AI.
They must also become skilled social media activists, using technology to communicate their vision and nudge the organisation to achieve it. They must be coalition builders, making the connections required to deliver complex change programmes. And leaders must drive new cultural norms, showing that failures are not a reason for blame, but an opportunity to build learning.
Leaders must also be comfortable that transparency goes both ways. The more engaged they become with their organisations, the more their own performance will be exposed. While Klick CEO Leerom Segal may know where everyone in Klick is at any one time, everyone in Klick knows where he is too.
With everything recorded, no leader can credibly say they did not know. And with every action recorded, the real value that a leader adds is clear to all.
Augmentation v.s. Automation
Without question, much of what has traditionally constituted organisational management can and should be automated. Companies like Klick have proven that it can be done, and to profoundly positive effect.
Automation of leadership, by contrast, may be neither possible nor desirable. However, by augmenting leadership with technology, companies can become more effective, agile and better places to work.
Leaders should not be fearful of embracing managerial automation, nor of accepting the power of data and AI to augment their personal effectiveness. Both are urgently necessary advances in an increasingly disruptive world. Besides, when technology works this well in the outside world, its application within organisations is all but inevitable.
“It’s been estimated that 57% of all jobs are at risk of being automated within the next 5 years.” Here are 7 key disruptions that most likely will change the way people work in the future.
Technological and social forces are transforming how work gets done, who does it, and even what work looks like. And while technology can make workers more productive, there will be significant turbulence as organizations grapple with the complexity and unpredictability of a changing workforce.
Research by Deloitte Consulting shows that there are seven powerful disruptors reshaping work as we know it. In order to address these disruptors, business leaders need to engage in transformative thinking that will not only re-design but re-imagine the way work gets done in their organizations. They need to think big, start small, become more agile, and—ultimately—move faster than the new realities of work.
Image: Deloitte Consulting
Are Organizations Ready for Industry 4.0?
Deloitte’s Readiness Report explores senior executives’ views on the impact of Industry 4.0, that is, the industrial change associated with automation and digital technologies. According to the report, business leaders are uncertain they have the right talent to be successful in this new era of technological advancement. Only 25% are highly confident that their workforce has the skill sets needed for the future. Only 14% are highly confident in their ability to harness the changes associated with Industry 4.0. Yet 86% of business leaders think they are doing all they can to build the right workforce. Even more surprising, less than 20% of business leaders regard talent and HR issues as a high priority. In a nutshell, leaders don’t seem to think radical change is needed to get them where they need to go.
To be sure, the likelihood of an entire profession disappearing due to automation is low. It is far more likely that parts of an occupation will be replaced by technology. Human talent will be working alongside artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing—or anything that can replace tasks in a business process and make them quicker, more accurate, and less costly. In this scenario, the most suitable resource, be it technological or human, can now be matched to deliver the most productive outcome.
Naturally, this has implications for the workforce and completely disrupts traditional talent models. Organizations will have to find the right balance of humans and machines to complement each other, re-designing roles to maximize talent and potential.
Image: Deloitte Consulting
Augmentation also challenges current talent structures and practices by making them more flexible. Workforces will become more and more contingent, with off-balance sheet workers (freelancers, contractors, and gig workers) increasingly utilized by businesses who want to capitalize on access to the smartest people to solve complex business problems. In fact, in the United States, more than 90% of net new jobs in the past five years were performed by off-balance sheet workers. Respondents to Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2018 report indicate that only 42% of their workforce is made up of salaried employees.
From the workers’ perspective, such augmentation through technology means people can now decide where best to work, whether it’s from an office or at home, in a satellite space, or in shared workspace. This fits the Millennial and Gen Z value of flexibility in the workplace—a key finding from the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018. For these workers, the gig economy’s increased income potential and flexibility hold great appeal. According to the survey, a clear majority have already taken on such roles or would consider doing so.
This is of particular importance in Asia, where almost 60% of the working population is 28 years old, compared to 40% globally. With the vastly different career expectations of this age group, organizations need to adjust talent models to attract and retain the workers that will take their business into the future.
Remaining Relevant in the Future of Work
The half-life of a skill has dropped from 30 years to an average of 6 years. This holds true even for fresh university graduates. This means that the model of “learn at school” and “do at work” is no longer sustainable and constant reskilling and lifelong learning will be a way of life at work. According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report, reskilling is the top priority for organizations looking at their future workforce strategy. And with working lives getting longer, reskilling is important for all workers, not just the young.
Individuals, companies, and educational institutions must find collective and elegant solutions that work for everyone and must push for smart ways to promote fairness and progressive thinking at work. Governments and policy makers can play a role in this new paradigm by showing bolder leadership in education and labor market regulations and by developing standards that enable and accelerate future of work opportunities. A collective response will create the platforms that enable and empower individuals to reinvent themselves to embark on new pathways and progress their careers.
Image: Deloitte Consulting
Business leaders can no longer be passive consumers of ready-made human capital. They need to put talent development and workforce strategy front and center in their growth plans. This requires a new mindset to understand the challenges workers face and evolve talent programmes and models that unlock their potential.
For employers, major sporting events can pose a dilemma: give your workers time to watch the competition and plan for a drop in productivity; or continue with business as usual and risk die-hard fans tuning out.
This year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia crams 64 games involving 32 countries into just four weeks. During the opening group stages fans can take advantage of as many as three – and on one day four – games a day. If you’re in the right timezone, chances are you can catch one or more during normal working hours.
For workers and football fans in Rio and New York the lure of the World Cup may be particularly problematic for bosses: more than 64 hours of the competition overlap with normal working hours in Rio while 60 hours overlap for New Yorkers, according to this graphic from Statista. Though those in NYC won’t be watching team USA, who did not qualify for the finals, Brazil are among the favourites to take home the biggest prize in football.