The World Economic Forum’s most recent report The Future of Jobs Report 2020 states: “We estimate that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, while 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms.”
So, What Does This All Mean?
Prior to COVID-19, the change in the proportion of labour and machines was well underway, with new technology based industries being created. The OECD, PWC, McKinsey & Company, Deloittes, KPMG, the University of Melbourne have all shared a common view regarding this point.
However, the advent of COVID has seen this change accelerated. The following graphics give some appreciation of the change that is happening and where job growth is occurring. For each graphic from the report, I have made a comment in bold text. An explanation against each comment is provided from the report itself:
The move to remote work will continue (44%). Eighty-four percent of employers are set to rapidly digitalize working processes, including a significant expansion of remote work—with the potential to move 44% of their workforce to operate remotely. To address concerns about productivity and well-being, about one-third of all employers expect to also take steps to create a sense of community, connection and belonging among employees through digital tools, and to tackle the well-being challenges posed by the shift to remote work.
Despite automation and AI increasing dramatically, there are new opportunities. The adoption of cloud computing, big data and e-commerce remain high priorities for business leaders, following a trend established in previous years. However, there has also been a significant rise in interest for encryption, non-humanoid robots and artificial intelligence.
Forty-three percent of businesses surveyed indicate that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, 41% plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work, and 34% plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration.
It’s clear that businesses are prepared to invest in reskilling of their employees going forward. The top skills and skill groups which employers see as rising in prominence in the lead up to 2025 include groups such as critical thinking and analysis as well as problem-solving, and skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. On average, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less and 94% of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp uptake from 65% in 2018.
Governance is key going forward. Companies need to invest in better metrics of human and social capital through adoption of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics and matched with renewed measures of human capital accounting. A significant number of business leaders understand that reskilling employees, particularly in industry coalitions and in public-private collaborations, is both cost-effective and has significant mid- to long-term dividends—not only for their enterprise but also for the benefit of society more broadly. Companies hope to internally redeploy nearly 50% of workers displaced by technological automation and augmentation, as opposes to making wider use of layoffs and automation-based labour savings as a core workforce strategy.
Inequality remains as an issue. In the absence of proactive efforts, inequality is likely to be exacerbated by the dual impact of technology and the pandemic recession. Jobs held by lower wage workers, women and younger workers were more deeply impacted in the first phase of the economic contraction. Comparing the impact of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 on individuals with lower education levels to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the impact today is far more significant and more likely to deepen existing inequalities.
Understanding the time required to upskill workers in the emerging job markets is critical. The window of opportunity to reskill and upskill workers has become shorter in the newly constrained labour market. This applies to workers who are likely to stay in their roles as well as those who risk losing their roles due to rising recession-related unemployment and can no longer expect to retrain at work. For those workers set to remain in their roles, the share of core skills that will change in the next five years is 40%, and 50% of all employees will need reskilling.
The Bottomline Is This: Despite the Changes, Human Capital Is Required i.e. You Matter (Yes, that’s you!)
The reaction to this video, in the main has been quite negative. It’s short, it packs a punch. I found the message very positive ie you matter. It’s clear that the majority of employers (73%) now recognise that human capital is their most important asset!
It Would Appear Creativity Is King and Queen Regarding The Future of Work 👑 👸
So although there is a strong focus on machines and AI, the human element to create, lead, influence, problem solve and use critical thinking underpinned by the former is the future.
In short, this is about being creative. Creativity doesn’t mean you have to be good at art and the like. Being creative is your ability to sit down (or stand up) and come up with something useful.
When I boil it all down, despite the qualifications I hold, the roles I have performed and the changes I have made, it has all come down to my ability to be creative. I have always classified myself as a “jack of all trades and master of none.” In otherwords, throw a difficult problem or issue at me and I will find some way to resolve it.
When it comes to creativity, the world is your oyster: Are you an influencer? Can you lead? Do you write good content? Can you design? What are your marketing skills like? How are your programming and software skills? Are you good at computer games? Do you know your industry? Are you good under pressure? How resilient are you? Can you plan? Can you analyse a situation? Are you objective? …