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The future of jobs

Employers | 17 April 2019 | Written by Katrien De Clercq

Do you need a better understanding of the potential new technologies and their effect on jobs? Then this is the report for you. No time? Our essential summary will fill you in.

Source: WEF – The future of Jobs- Contributors- Till Alexander Leopold, Vesselina Ratcheva, Saadia Zahidi

The future of jobs
The future of work New technologies will create an increased demand for new roles. Regretfully, these will decrease the demand for others. It seems critical that businesses need to support their employees through reskilling and upskilling. They need to recognize human capital investment as an asset. Next to that; individuals should take a proactive approach to their lifelong learning and governments should create an enabling environment to assist in these efforts. The data in this report represent the understanding of HR-leaders of the factors informing their planning, hiring, training and investment decisions from now until 2022.

Key findings

Labour markets are transforming and head for good work, good jobs and improved quality of life. But a workforce strategy ready to meet these challenges is necessary.

  • Drivers of change: Four technological advances—omnipresent high-speed mobile internet, artificial intelligence, widespread adoption of big data analytics, and cloud technology—are set to dominate the 2018–2022 period as drivers positively affecting business growth.
  • Changing the value chain: 59% expect a noteworthy change on production and distribution by changing their value chain composition.
  • Changing employment types: Nearly 50% of companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce by 2022.
  • Human-machine frontier: Companies expect a significant shift on the frontier between humans and machines.
  • Emerging roles: Across all industries growth in emerging professions is set to increase the share of employment from 16% to 27%. Roles that are set to experience increasing demand are roles based on or enhanced by the use of technology: Data Analysts and Scientists, Software and Applications Developers, and Social Media Specialists for example. Roles that leverage distinctively ‘human' skills like Customer Service Workers are expected to grow too. Not to forget totally new roles related to understanding and leveraging the latest technologies such as AI and Machine Learning Specialists, Big Data Specialists, and Process Automation Experts.
  • Growing skill instability: Almost all respondents expect that, by 2022, the required skills to perform most jobs will have changed drastically.
  • Skill gaps strategies: Respondents expect to: hire wholly new permanent staff already having skills relevant to new technologies, seek to automate the work tasks concerned completely, and retrain existing employees.
  • Insufficient reskilling and upskilling: Employers reveal that their priority is to focus their re- and upskilling efforts on employees performing high-value roles (which will be using relevant new technologies soon). By 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require re- and upskilling.

It’s safe to say governments, industries and workers urgently need to take action:

  • Governments need to address the impact of new technologies on labour markets through upgraded education policies aimed at fast raising education and skill levels. Next to that, they must balance improvements in education and skills provision. Maybe increased tax incomes offer the possibility to improve social safety nets to support those who need to adjust to the new labour market.
  • Industries need to support the upskilling of their staff towards new higher-skilled roles to ensure that their workforce achieves its full potential. Adding to that, they should ensure a pool of suitably skilled talent.
  • Workers need to take responsibility for their own lifelong learning and career development.

Key takeaways Governments, businesses and individuals face new challenges and opportunities in the new labour market. Companies play a key role to leverage new technologies, boost economic value creation, improve job quality, and encourage their employees’ skills.

Ultimately, the essential thing for governments, industries and workers should be to ensure that tomorrow’s jobs are fairly compensated, include respectful and decent treatment, and provide realistic possibilities for personal growth, development and fulfilment.

Discover more about how the future will affect our jobs.
Read the full report.