The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Future of Jobs report says that by 2025, 97 million new employment opportunities will be generated while robots and automation will displace 87 million jobs.
The report found that the pandemic has made the workforce change faster than expected with the majority of employers expected to divide work equally between humans and machines within the coming five years.
By 2025, roles that leverage human skills will increase in demand whereas machines will be focused on information and data processing, administrative tasks and routine manual jobs for white and blue-collar positions.
“COVID-19 has accelerated the arrival of the future of work. Automation and the fallout from the pandemic recession have deepened existing inequalities across labor markets and reversed gains in employment made since the global financial crisis in 2007-2008. The window of opportunity for proactive management of this change is closing fast. Businesses, governments and workers must plan to urgently work together to implement a new vision for the global workforce.”
Pandemic-recession Vs Great Depression
The pandemic has pushed down the global economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression from 1929 to 1933.
The US, which is the world’s biggest economy took a decade following the financial crisis to create 23 million new jobs. The coronavirus pandemic took just a month to destroy almost as many jobs, according to statistics from the US Labour Department.
The Future of Jobs 2020 tracked the impact of COVID-19 on the labor market which showed that on an average, between February and May 2020 more number of employees who were female, younger and belonging to lower-wage category lost their jobs.
Both the individuals and communities were affected badly by the pandemic and the forum suggests that without any dynamic supportive step from governments and the private sector, the inequality is likely to be worsened by the dual impact of technology and the recession.
Demand for re-skilling
“The pandemic has disproportionately impacted millions of low-skilled workers,” says Jeff Maggioncalda, chief executive of Coursera, one of the world’s biggest online learning platforms that have been monitoring re-skilling demand among its students.
Half of the employers are planning to bring automation into some roles in their companies, according to the report, which is based on a survey of senior leaders at nearly 300 global companies that collectively employ 8 million workers.
Demand for roles in areas like data entry, accounting and administrative support are expected to suffer most. For employees continuing in their roles in the next five years, nearly half will need to re-skill their core skills.
About 48 percent of companies surveyed in the UAE was looking to accelerate automation, slightly below the global average, the study found.
“In the future, we will see the most competitive businesses are the ones that have invested heavily in their human capital in the skills and competencies of their employees,” Ms. Zahidi said.
As the job market keeps changing, 97 million new roles will emerge across the care economy, especially in fourth industrial revolution technology such as artificial intelligence and in content creation. The humans are set to maintain their comparative skills including managing, decision-making, reasoning, communicating and interacting.
The survey shows that in the coming years’ demand for workers in green economy jobs, as well as roles in the data and artificial intelligence economy, engineering, cloud computing and product development will increase.
84 percent of employers in the study said they are preparing to digitalize working processes, including a significant expansion of remote working.
Three-quarters of business persons anticipate some negative impact on worker productivity, suggesting some are still struggling with the pandemic-induced shift to remote working.
WEF’s research also indicated that a huge percentage of people are making career changes to completely new areas.
Karin Kimbrough, the chief economist at LinkedIn which is an employment oriented online service, said that changing workforce funding toward skills that have a larger impact on opening up long term career paths can make a real difference in addressing the unexpected condition of unemployment that the world is facing now.
The World Economic Forum, based in Switzerland, is an international NGO founded in 1971. The WEF’s mission is cited as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.”