Last month the World Economic Forum released their latest Future Of Jobs Report which discussed expected job trends between 2018-2022 across 20 countries and 12 industry sectors. They focused on the rise of automation, robotisation and digitisation which is projected to change how we think about work in upcoming years. Here are five key points for industry leaders to consider so that they’re prepared for what the future will bring.
Automation looks different across different industries
How companies will adopt emerging technologies will depend on the type of business they run. Far from our visions of the future as seen in popular science fiction, the most prevalent robot will be stationary (37%) in automotive, aerospace, and supply chain industries. These sectors will also utilise non-humanoid land robots (33%), while humanoid robots (23%) will be used by financial services and investors. Aerial and underwater robots (19%) are expected to be spearheaded by oil and gas.
High-speed mobile internet, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and cloud technology are set to be popular emerging technologies used by businesses. Machine learning and augmented and virtual reality are also poised for popular consideration.
There will be more emerging jobs than declining jobs
While it’s true that developing technology will endanger a wide range of occupations, we can also expect huge job growth as well. It’s projected that 75 million current job roles may be displaced, while 133 new roles may emerge during this time.
Many of these occupations rely heavily on new technology – jobs such as data analysts, software and application developers, and social media specialists. However, with the increase in prevalence of machine automation, jobs requiring distinctly ‘human’ qualities will also be in huge demand. These roles include customer service workers, sales and marketing professionals, training and development, and organisational developmental specialists.
Change is happening quick
Currently, an average of 71% of total task hours across the industries covered in the report are performed by humans, and 29% are performed by machines and algorithms. By 2022 this is expected to shift to 58% by humans and 42% by technology.
New job needs are requiring new skills
Just as there will be new job roles emerging as a result of technological shift, there will be rising demand for various skills to thrive in this new landscape. Some of these skills are based on engaging with new technologies, such as analytical thinking, active learning, and technology design. However, human skills that are not easily replicable in machines will also become more valuable, such as creativity, critical thinking, persuasion, negotiation, resilience, emotional intelligence, and leadership.
We will need ongoing learning
In order to respond positively to these changes, employees will need an average of 101 days of retraining and upskilling by 2022. Otherwise, companies may be required to utilise external contractors, temporary staff, and freelancers to address skill gaps that arise.
What does it all mean for us?
Overall the outlook is quite positive despite huge changes that will affect the entire labour landscape. There’s a fear of the unknown that’s present in a lot us, and while preparedness for the future is definitely important, we should also understand the positive outcomes.
As changes occur there arises a whole new set of needs that companies must respond to in order to adapt effectively. Instead of resisting transformation, smart business leaders that acknowledge these changes will come out on top. Learning to embrace the new capabilities that are inherently based on emerging technologies, as well as investing in the skills and qualities that are unique to human thinking, will be key.
Furthermore, we need to be able to communicate this effectively to young people and address the concerns they have for the future. Whether as educators or employers, we have to let them know we’re on top of things and that we’re considering the challenges and opportunities that come with automation. To engage them effectively we need to help them understand that their degrees, qualifications, and work experience will continue to be valuable.