The Future Of Jobs


Data gathered by LinkedIn, Coursera and the World Economic Forum was captured in a Future of Jobs Report recently published by The World Economic forum (WEF). A good summary is provided by senior writer Kate Whiting in her recent Article on the WEF website. Report content is showing up in varied places, with key findings like those below widely shared:


It is estimated that, by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines. But this job disruption is counterbalanced by job creation in new fields: the jobs of tomorrow. Across the 15 industries and 26 economies covered by the report, it is estimated that some 97 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms.


As with everything else, the report explores the impact of COVID-19 on jobs. Not surprisingly, early evidence from the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Survey presented in their visual below suggests that employers are set to accelerate their job automation and augmentation agenda, raising the possibility of a jobless recovery. This mirrors the path taken post financial crisis, as companies found other ways to get work done. The survey found that just over 80% say they are accelerating automation and expanding their use of remote work. Additionally, 50% also indicate they are set to accelerate the automation of jobs in their companies. The survey also found that more than 25% of employers expect to temporarily reduce their workforce, and 20% expect to permanently do so. Per the report, the International Labor Organization (ILO) projects that by the second quarter of 2020, the equivalent of 195 million workers will have been displaced and as jobs are transformed at a greater speed.

Two responses can be viewed as accelerants linked to COVID-19: acceleration of upskilling and reskilling activities using technology, and the related programs they enable. This focus on learning and education is critical. The report underscores why, as it looks at jobs that will increase, and those that will decrease. This visual from the report summarized their findings.

Future skills identified by the report reflect the need for Human Traits in an Exponential World. As described in an earlier post on the topic, our exponential world puts increasing pressure on our capacity to innovate and the speed and quality of idea flow. This dynamic coupled with the speed at which automation is likely to occur brings our right brain characteristics front and center. Creativity, imagination, big picture vision, emotional and social intelligence, empathy, and other human characteristics are critical to navigating in this emerging future. As automation accelerates, these human traits become even more critical. The report identified these top skills for 2025.

Notice the shift towards Right Brain Characteristics. The report is quite detailed, and I highly recommend it. It draws many conclusions, with recommendations for the path forward. Collaborative global efforts are necessary if we are to navigate towards a very different future. I will close with this from the report:


To address the substantial challenges facing the labor market today, governments must pursue a holistic approach, creating active linkages and coordination between education providers, skills, workers and employers, and ensuring effective collaboration between employment agencies, regional governments and national governments.

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