The bad news is tens of millions of jobs throughout the world are going to be wiped out by high-tech machines over the next four years.
The good news is that the same tech will create far more jobs – 12 million – than it destroys.
And that will create amazing opportunities for workers who can master the top 10 job skills of tomorrow.
“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,” concludes the Swiss-based World Economic Form in a report.
In ‘The Future of Jobs Report 2020’, released in October last year, the influential international think-tank explains how the COVID-19 pandemic has only further fuelled technological changes that were already underway and are forever altering how work is done.
“Technological adoption by companies will transform tasks, jobs and skills by 2025,” state the authors of the report. “Forty-three per cent of businesses surveyed indicate that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, 41 per cent plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work, and 34 per cent plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration.
“By 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal.”
Within the next four years, half of all employees will need to upgrade their tech and other skills.
Here is the World Economic Forum’s list of the Top 10 Skills of Tomorrow.
- Analytical thinking and innovation.
- Active learning and learning strategies.
- Complex problem-solving.
- Critical thinking and analysis.
- Creativity, originality and initiative.
- Leadership and social influence.
- Technology use, monitoring and control.
- Technology design and programming.
- Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.
- Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation.
According to the think-tank’s report, the vast majority of workers who will need training will be able to master the new skills they pick up within six months.
In Canada, the biggest chunk of employers who responded to the World Economic Forum’s survey indicated that they plan to provide that learning and staff development internally, with 42 per cent of employers saying they would go that route.
Another 20 per cent said they would bring in private training providers; 17.6 per cent said they would turn to online training resources; and only 8.2 per cent indicated they would turn to public schools, including colleges and universities, for that training.
The retraining of existing staff is a high priority for Canadian employers, with 93 per cent of them indicating that was their preferred way of dealing with the need for ever-changing skillsets.
But automation and the farming out of work to freelancers aren’t far behind on most employers’ list of priorities.
In surveys, 79 per cent of them said they would look to automate work should job functions suddenly require a different set of skills – and 59 per cent of employers indicated they would turn to freelancers. Forty-eight per cent indicated they would bring in external contractors to do the work.
The writing is on the wall and workers know they need to upgrade. But how they go about it varies depending on whether or not they already have a job, the report notes.
“There has been a four-fold increase in the numbers of individuals seeking out opportunities for learning online through their own initiative, a five-fold increase in employer provision of online learning opportunities to their workers and a nine-fold enrolment increase for learners accessing online learning through government programmes,” notes the World Economic Forum.
“Those in employment are placing a larger emphasis on personal development courses, which have seen 88 per cent growth among that population. Those who are unemployed have placed greater emphasis on learning digital skills such as data analysis, computer science and information technology.”