Major job-market transformation in five years: World Economic Forum


New skillsets will be required to thrive in the new landscape, attributed to new fields, such as artificial intelligence, machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, genetics and biotechnology.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution coupled with other socio-economic and demographic changes is expected to transform the job market in the next five years.

A result of new fields, such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology, new skillsets will be needed to thrive in this new landscape.

According to the World Economic Forum, the transformed job market in the next five years, will lead to a net loss of over five million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies.

Though the total jobs lost will be many as 7.1 million due to redundancy, automation or disintermediation, it will be partially offset by the creation of 2.1 million new jobs. The new jobs will mainly be in more specialised ‘job families’, such as computer and mathematics or architecture and engineering. The greatest losses will be witnessed in white-collar and administrative roles.

Though the loss of jobs will be almost equal for men and women — 52:48—the effect will be more on women as men represent a larger share of the overall job market. This will further widen the employment gender gap, with women losing five jobs for every job gained, compared to men losing three jobs for every job gained.

There is already a low participation of women in industries that are expected to grow, such as computers and mathematics. This makes it important for leaders to address the chronic problem of getting more women into STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) professions.

The report says that the skills and jobs displacement will affect every industry and geographical region. However, losses can be offset by job growth in key areas.

Organisations believe that the future lies in investing in skills, rather than hiring short-term or virtual workers.

These predictions are likely to be relatively conservative and leave no room for complacency. Yet, the impact of disruption will vary considerably depending on the industry, gender as well as job type.

For instance, healthcare is expected to experience the greatest negative impact in terms of jobs in the next five years, followed jointly by energy and financial services and investors.

The industries that stand to create the most jobs are information and communication technology, followed by professional services and media, entertainment and information professionals.

The new research by the World Economic Forum is the first of its kind, and represents over 13 million employees in nine industry sectors and 15 economies. It aims to guide business and policy-makers on how to equip labour forces with the skills to navigate the disruption of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The report is based on a survey of chief HR officers and top strategy executives from companies across nine broad industry categories, covering 15 of the world’s largest economies. Together, these economies account for 65 per cent of the global workforce.


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