Rise in automation and Covid-19 will act as “double disruption” and claim 85 million jobs by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum’s report titled ‘Future of Jobs 2020’ report.
Redundant work roles will decline by 6% and emerging professions will see a 5.7% growth in the total employee base, added the report. Although the automation changes are also expected to bring in 97 million new jobs for those adapted to machines and algorithms, the numbers still point towards job destruction at an accelerated rate than job creation, found WEF.
Due to the pandemic, unemployment rates are at an all-time high in many countries and the gap between job creation and disruption is increasing. From the surveyed businesses, about 43% plan to reduce their workforce due to technological integrations, while 34% plan to increase workforce owing to the same reason. Companies have shifted their focus towards robots, computer vision and natural language processing which can further put people out of jobs, highlighted the report.
Also, adoption of artificial intelligence to optimise and automate every workflow seems to have become a high priority for corporations. Roles in data entry, accounting and administrative support are decreasing in demand while the career shifts from different fields are more prominent in content creation, data and artificial intelligence.
The report stresses on skill development. Employers seek skills like problem solving, creativity, critical thinking and flexibility at work and businesses are trying to reskill or upskill their current employees to stay in competition, according to the report. During the pandemic, the amount of people seeking online learning opportunities has increased four times.
While 66% of the surveyed employers expect return on investment in upskilling and reskilling, the employee engagement is lagging with 42% actively participating in such employer-invested courses, found the report. For people who would remain in their roles would require to change 40% of their core skills in the next five years.
The Future of Work
With most of the work shifted to the digital realm, it is expected that remote working will become the new norm for employees. However, concerns for workers’ productivity and health still remain unanswered.
Moreover, certain disadvantaged sections of the community have been the most affected with the recent unemployment situation. With industries like hospitality and travel and tourism hit due the pandemic, the younger, low-earning females have been caught with the worst of the impact.
“The pandemic has disproportionately impacted millions of low-skilled workers,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, chief executive officer of Coursera, in the report. “The recovery must include a coordinated reskilling effort by institutions to provide accessible and job-relevant learning that individuals can take from anywhere to return to the workforce.”
The World Economic Forum stresses on the fact that lack of proactive efforts will only affect the economy more. It urges businesses, workers and the government to place a greater emphasis on skill development while also working together to implement a new vision for the future workforce.