The Future of Jobs: Which jobs will be displaced and which new jobs will be created in the next five years?

by Ramola Yardi
in Work trends, Strategy and business planning
9 May 2016  |  0 Comments

Anticipating and addressing the transformation of the employment landscape in response to disruptions on business models is critical to avoid skills instability and negative industry outlook.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) Future of Jobs: Employment, Skills and Workforce Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Jan 2016 documents the impacts of major disruptive demographic and technological changes on the employment landscape and key responses.

The report presents the case that technological developments in field such as artificial intelligence, robotics and mobile internet are converging with broader socio-economic, geopolitical and demographic changes to create fundamental industry transformations that will generate new categories of jobs and totally displace others.

The report is based on a survey with 371 Chief Human Resources Officers and strategy executives from 100 of the largest global suppliers representing more than 13 million employees across 9 broad industry sectors and 15 countries.

Key shifts in the employment landscape as outlined in the report include:

Change on employment

While technological change has job creation potential, the largest driver of change is in fact demographic and socio-economic and created by young demographics, rising middle class in emerging economies and power and aspirations of women.  Key changes to employment as a percentage of compound growth rate 2015-2020 include:

  • Strong employment in Architecture and Engineering and Mathematics and Computing Science
  • Moderate decline in Manufacturing and Production roles
  • Significant decline in Office and Administrative roles
  • Flat outlook for Management, Business and Financial Operations, Sales and Related, Construction and Extraction and Art, Design, Entertainment, Media.

The expected global decline in Manufacturing and Production is driven by 3D printing, labour substituting while conversely the same factors resource-efficient sustainable production, 3D printing and robotics is expected to drive employment growth in Architecture and Engineering. The significant decline in office and administration role is due to technological advancement and automation but also less rationale for maintaining large workforces due to climate change, resource efficiency and workplace flexibility.

New and emerging roles 

The researchers asked survey respondents which job categories and functions will be important to their industry by 2020. Key emerging job functions include:

  • Data analysts: to make sense of and derive insights from mega data generated by technological disruption
  • Specialised sale representatives: commercialising and explaining their offerings to business, government and consumer clients
  • Strategic HR: new types of human resource and organisational development specialists
  • Engineering specialities: expertise in disciplines such as materials, bio-chemicals, nanotech, robotics

Core work skills

The report has found that all job families will potentially be disrupted in terms of the skills required for the near future not just job families associated with technical skills and technology.  There is a need for reskilling and upskilling a wide range of academic backgrounds in all industries.

Skills that are expected to be a growing part of the core skill requirements for many industries include:

  • Complex problem solving
  • Social skills
  • Content skills
  • Process skills.

For example, the rise of computing power and big data will drive skills in analysis, visual presentation, data-based decision-marking across many job families. Data will also enable more sophisticated inventory management, customer segmentation and product personalisation. Similarly, new consumer concerns around carbon footprint, food safety and labour standards will shift product offerings and supply chain knowledge.

Where to from here

Based on responses by survey participants, The WEF report notes that there are a number of barriers to responding to these changes including insufficient understanding of the changes, resources constraints, focus on short-term business profitability and lack of alignment between innovation and workforce strategy.

Key recommendations in the report point to the need for a more strategic role of HR, making use of data analytics to anticipate workforce changes, diversity and flexibility in work arrangements and cross-sectoral collaboration around new skills and lifelong education.

The Future of Jobs report provides an opportunity for you to initiate positive change in your organsiation by evaluating the current and future needs of your workforce. 

People Tactics can help you bring meaning to this issue and the decisions you need to make.

Author: Ramola Yardi

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