For talent strategists, the news that came out of the 2019 World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, is positive—if governments, businesses and individuals take the necessary steps to ensure that today’s workforce has the skills it needs to perform the jobs of tomorrow.
At Davos, the WEF presented the report, The Future of Jobs 2018, to provide an understanding of the potential of new technologies to disrupt and create jobs, and guidance for improving the quality and productivity of work now being done by humans and for preparing people for emerging roles. It is based on a survey of Chief Human Resources Officers and top strategy executives across 12 industries and 20 developed and emerging economies, representing 70% of global GDP.
The report finds that by 2025, while the shifting division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms may displace 75 million jobs, another 133 million roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labor. That shift looks like this: Today, 71% of total task hours are performed by humans and 29% by machines; by 2022, these averages could shift to 58% task hours by humans and 42% by machines.
All industries could have sizeable skills gaps, with average skills instability of 42%, highlighting the scale of the challenge in preparing today’s workers for changes within their current roles and the emerging jobs of the future. Technology proficiency, such as technology design and programming, and distinctly human skills, such as creativity, critical thinking and persuasion, are among the competencies that will be sharply increasing in importance, the study finds.
Other findings include:
- While nearly 50% of companies expect their full-time workforce to shrink by 2022 as a result of automation, almost 40% expect to extend their workforce generally and more than a quarter expect automation to create new roles in their enterprise.
- Roles set to experience increasing demand across all industries include data analysts and scientists, software and applications developers, and e-commerce and social media specialists, all of which are significantly based on or enhanced by technology.
- Fifty-four percent of employees of large companies would need significant re- and upskilling in order to fully harness the growth opportunities presented. Just over half of companies plan to reskill only those employees in key roles while only one third plan to reskill at-risk workers.
- With the huge disruption automation brings to the global workforce, accompanying shifts in the quality, location, format and permanency of roles will require close attention from leaders in the public and private sector.
Across all countries and regions, employers expect that significant reskilling will be needed by a large share of the global workforce over the 2018-2022 period. Remaining competitive in a global context and taking advantage of emerging job creation opportunities will require a well-skilled local workforce bolstered by national lifelong learning ecosystems. Please see the chart for additional employer responses to shifting skill needs.
“Knowing which occupations are growing and declining globally is a starting place for policymakers, educators, and employers to have conversations on how to transition the global workforce to the jobs and skills of tomorrow,” says Allen Blue, Co-founder of LinkedIn. “To help people connect to economic opportunity on the individual level, it’s important to map and understand today’s labor market dynamics at scale.”
Genesis10 has been reporting on the talent and skills shortages since 2009. What continues to evolve is the skills mix but, as noted at Davos, the gap continues to grow. Read Talent Strategy Redefined which highlights three immediate tactics to mitigate talent risk, while going forward, the Future of Work 2018 provides this guidance:
- For governments, there is an urgent need to address the impact of new technologies on labor markets through upgraded education systems, social policies, safety nets for managing the social impact of workforce transformation and stimulating job creation taking into account demand for emerging roles and skills.
- For industries, support upskilling of their current workforce toward new and higher-skilled roles is needed as well as consideration of how the efforts apply to the gig, temporary and online workforces.
- For workers, take personal responsibility for learning and become comfortable with the concept of lifelong learning
View the video of Harley Lippman offering insight into the Future of Talent report on Bloomberg Radio.