COVID-19 will take away jobs, but 97mln new roles will be created in 5 years - WEF

85mln jobs will be lost, while tech revolution will create 97mln new jobs by 2025

  
Colleagues in the office working while wearing medical face mask during COVID-19. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Colleagues in the office working while wearing medical face mask during COVID-19. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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Newly emerging in 2020 are skills in self-management such as resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.

Automation and the division of labour between humans and machines are set to disrupt 85 million jobs globally by 2025 and at the same time the robot revolution will also create 97 million new jobs, according an annual jobs report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the journey towards jobs once considered futuristic and has caused the labour market to change faster than expected, said the third edition of the report titled "The Future of Jobs 2020", released today.

Disruption of jobs

The disruption will be witnessed in medium and large businesses across 15 industries and 26 economies, it said, adding, roles in areas such as data entry, accounting and administrative support are decreasing in demand as automation and digitization in the workplace increases.

"More than 80 percent of business executives are accelerating plans to digitize work processes and deploy new technologies; and 50 percent of employers are expecting to accelerate the automation of some roles in their companies. In contrast to previous years, job creation is now slowing while job destruction is accelerating," said the report.

Some 43 percent of businesses surveyed indicate that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, 41 percent plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work, and 34 percent plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration, it said.

However, there is a ray of hope for professionals who would upgrade their skills. "As the economy and job markets evolve, 97 million new roles will emerge across the care economy, in fourth industrial revolution technology industries like artificial intelligence, and in content creation fields. The tasks where humans are set to retain their comparative advantage include managing, advising, decision-making, reasoning, communicating and interacting,” the report said.

“There will be a surge in demand for workers who can fill green economy jobs, roles at the forefront of the data and artificial intelligence economy, as well as new roles in engineering, cloud computing and product development," it added.

Focus on reskilling

For those workers set to remain in their roles in the next five years, nearly 50 percent will need reskilling for their core skills. Despite the current economic downturn, most employers recognize the value of reskilling their workforce. An average of 66 percent of employers surveyed expect to see a return on investment in upskilling and reskilling of current employees within one year. They also expect to successfully redeploy 46 percent of workers within their own organisation, it said.

Quoting the professional networking platform LinkedIn, the WEF report said the data gathered over the past five years, some 50 percent of career shifts into data and artificial intelligence are from different fields. That figure is much higher for sales roles (75 percent), content creation and production positions, such as social media managers and content writers (72 percent), and engineering roles (67 percent).

"As we think about ways to upskill or transition large populations of the workforce who are out of work as a result of COVID-19 into new, more future-proofed jobs, these new insights into career transitions and the skills required to make them have huge potential for leaders in the public and the private sector alike,” said Karin Kimbrough, Chief Economist at LinkedIn.

According to the WEF report, core skills such as critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving are consistently top of the reskilling and upskilling priorities for educators and businesses. "Newly emerging in 2020 are skills in self-management such as resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility," it said.

(Reporting by Syed Atique Naqvi, editing by Seban Scaria)

(seban.scaria@refinitiv.com)

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