Automation and a new division of labor between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million jobs globally by 2025, according to a report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday. The Future of Jobs 2020 report showed that COVID-19 has led the labor market to change faster than anticipated. "More than 80% of business executives are accelerating plans to digitize work processes and deploy new technologies," the report said. It said that contrary to the previous years, job creation is now slowing down while job losses fasten. Some 43% of businesses surveyed indicated that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, while 34% plan to expand their workforce, the report said.
The next five years might see 85 million jobs displaced by new technologies, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum (WEF), although the trend could be balanced out by the creation of 97 million new roles – subject, however, to businesses and governments putting in extra efforts to upskill and retrain the workforce. While the adoption of technologies that automate human labor has been long-anticipated by analysts, who have predicted the start of the "Fourth Industrial Revolution" for years now, 2020 has come with its share of unexpected events, and they have greatly accelerated changes that could threaten the stability of the labor market sooner than expected. The COVID-19 pandemic has fast-tracked most businesses' digital transformation, bringing remote work into the mainstream but also sparking CIOs' interest in new technologies. Surveying 300 of the world's biggest companies, which together employ eight million people around the world, the WEF found that an overwhelming 80% of decision makers are planning on accelerating the automation of their work processes, while half are set to increase the automation of jobs in their company. Industries like finance, healthcare and transportation are showing renewed interest in artificial intelligence, while the public sector is keen to increase the use of big data, IoT and robotics.
Access to skilled workers is already a key factor that sets successful companies apart from failing ones. In an increasingly data-driven future - the European Commission believes there could be as many as 756,000 unfilled jobs in the European ICT sector by 2020 - this difference will become even more acute. Skills gaps across all industries are poised to grow in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and other emerging technologies are happening in ever shorter cycles, changing the very nature of the jobs that need to be done - and the skills needed to do them - faster than ever before. At least 133 million new roles generated as a result of the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms may emerge globally by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum.
DAVOS, SWITZERLAND – When global leaders and captains of industry gathered in Davos last week for the 2018 World Economic Forum, AI and the economy of tomorrow dominated the discussions. Coupled with the launch of two new reports into the future of work at the summit, it is clear that AI and reskilling are already central considerations for policymakers and businesses alike.
According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) around 1.5 million jobs in England alone could be at risk from automation. Deloitte finds that over the next two decades, up to 35% of all jobs could be at high risk of being replaced by automated systems. If the rise of automation has the potential to impact millions of jobs, will workers want to adapt and learn new skills if their jobs are at risk? A two-year Commission on Workers and Technology is currently assessing the impact automation and artificial intelligence (AI) could have on the UK's workforce. Yvette Cooper MP, who is chair of the Commission, wrote in The Guardian: "Trades unions and communities can't just stand by and hope for the best. If we want technological change to benefit everyone rather than widening inequality, then we need to start preparing now."