According to the World Economic Forum, in the next five years, more than one-third of skills (35%) that are considered important in today’s workforce will have changed. What was relevant yesterday is already disappearing and new skills will be needed for job seekers to be relevant to the job market in the near future. What this means to us parents is that we need to equip our children with the skills that are the most relevant to them as they get ready to start working.
The world of work is changing – and some jobs are changing faster than others. According to the latest research, soon we’ll only be as good as the skills we possess. But which skills are they, and how can we make sure we keep pace?
New categories of jobs will emerge, partly or wholly displacing others. The skillsets required in both old and new occupations will change in most industries and transform how and where people work. This change in skillsets and new jobs may also affect female and male workers differently and transform the dynamics of the industry gender gap. As technological breakthroughs rapidly shift the frontier between the work tasks performed by humans and those performed by machines and algorithms, global labor markets are likely to undergo major transformations. These transformations, if managed wisely, could lead to a new age of good work, good jobs and improved quality of life for all, but if managed poorly, pose the risk of widening skills gaps, greater inequality and broader polarization.
In many ways, the time to shape the future of work is now.
Automation, robotization and digitization look different across different industries: High-speed mobile internet, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and cloud technology are set to spearhead companies’ adoption of new technologies between 2018 and 2022. Many will also look to machine learning and augmented and virtual reality for considerable business investment. By contrast, investment in the kind of robotic technologies imagined in movies and popular fiction will remain somewhat more niche over the period – but is nevertheless picking up pace. Stationary robots are likely to be the most widely adopted by 2022 – but different industries have distinct use cases and preferences.
There is a net positive outlook for jobs – amid significant job disruption: By 2022, today’s newly emerging occupations are set to grow from 16% to 27% of the employee base of large firms globally, while job roles currently affected by technological obsolescence are set to decrease from 31% to 21%. In purely quantitative terms, 75 million current job roles may be displaced by the shift in the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms, while 133 million new job roles may emerge at the same time. Growing occupations include roles such as Data Analysts, Software and Applications Developers and E-commerce and Social Media Specialists – jobs that are significantly based on, and enhanced by, the use of technology. However, also expected to grow are job roles based on distinctively ‘human’ traits, such as Customer Service Workers, Sales and Marketing Professionals, Training and Development, People and Culture, and Organizational Development Specialists as well as Innovation Managers.
The division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms is shifting fast: Employers anticipate a significant shift in the division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms for the tasks of today. Currently an average of 71% of total task hours across the industries covered by our Future of Jobs Report are performed by humans, compared to 29% by machines or algorithms. By 2022 this average is expected to have shifted to 58% task hours performed by humans, and 42% by machines or algorithms. In terms of total working hours, no work task is yet performed predominantly by machines or algorithms today. By 2022, 62% of organization’s data processing and information search and transmission tasks will be performed by machines. Relative to their starting point today, the expansion of machines’ share of work task performance will be particularly marked in reasoning and decision-making, administrative and information search tasks. Even work tasks overwhelmingly performed by humans today — communicating, interacting, coordinating, managing and advising — will begin to be taken on by machines, although to a lesser degree.
New tasks at work are driving demand for new skills: By 2022 the skills required to perform most jobs will have shifted significantly. Global average “skills stability”— the proportion of core skills required to perform a job that will remain the same — is expected to be about 58%. That means workers will see an average shift of 42% in required workplace skills in the period leading up to 2022. Skills growing in prominence include analytical thinking and active learning as well as skills such as technology design, highlighting the growing demand for various forms of technology competency. However, proficiency in new technologies is only one part of the 2022 skills equation. “Human” skills such as creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation will likewise retain or increase their value, as will attention to detail, resilience, flexibility and complex problem-solving. Emotional intelligence, leadership and social influence as well as service orientation are also set to see particular increase in demand relative to their current prominence today.
We will all need to become lifelong learners: On average, employees will need 101 days of retraining and upskilling in the period up to 2022. Emerging skills gaps — both among individual workers and among companies’ senior leadership — may significantly obstruct organization’s transformation management. Depending on industry and geography, between one-half and two-thirds of companies are likely to turn to external contractors, temporary staff and freelancers to address their skills gaps. A comprehensive approach to workforce planning, reskilling and upskilling will be the key for positive, proactive management of such trends.
Based on the above trends, we need to get our children trained in technology as that will not go anywhere but become more and more entrenched into our lives. Plus never stop learning, you are never old to learn something new!