World Economic Forum report forecasts rise of jobs by 2025 due to machines but warns of pandemic ‘double-disruption’
It is said by think tank that a “robot revolution” would create 97 million jobs worldwide but destroy almost as many, leaving some communities at risk.
WEF said that routine or manual jobs such as in administration and data processing were most at danger of automationaffecting the lowest paid, lowest skilled workers the most. But it said that a lot of new jobs would emerge in care, big data and the green economy.
In a report published on 24/10/2020, the World Economic Forum said the increase of machines and automation would remove 85 million jobs by 2025.
It stressed the need for “reskilling” and “upskilling” from employers to guarantee staff are sufficiently prepared for the upcoming work.
- Robots ‘to replace 20 million factory jobs’
More than 50% of employers surveyed said they likely to speed up the automation of few roles in their companies, while 43% felt they were expected to cut jobs because of technology.
WEF said that due to pandemic firms looked to cut costs and adopt new ways of working this has sped up the adoption of new technologies.
“There has been a decrease in the rate of job creation,” Saadia Zahidi, managing director of the World Economic Forum said. That’s not a big surprise given the lockdowns that have been ongoing and the recession that has followed.”
“But at the same time, if we look at the predictions that heads of HR and those at the frontlines of making these decisions are saying, we find overall the rate of job creation will still beat the rate of job destruction.”
Nevertheless, the WEF is not complacent. The institution supposes work has to be shared equally among humans and machines by 2025, with computers handling lot of the heavy lifting with respect to data processing, administrative tasks and manual jobs for white- and blue-collar workers.
According to the WEF, more than half of the employees will need some sort of retraining in the next five years.
Zahidi said “The window of opportunity that we have to ensure that workers have the right kinds of skills for the future just got a whole lot shorter”.
The Covid-19 outbreak has destroyed the global economy, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting a 4.4% contraction in GDP this year due to the crippling impact of public health restrictions. The crisis has also placed millions of jobs on the line, with sectors such as travel and the arts more severely affected than others.
“Automation, along with the COVID-19 recession, is creating a ‘double-disruption’ scenario for workers,” the WEF said in its report. “In addition to the present disruption from the pandemic continued lockdowns and economic contraction, technological acceptance by companies will convert tasks, jobs and skills by 2025.”
The WEF also emphasized the quick shift to remote work that came about in the spring as the health crisis led companies to close their offices. It said employers could move as much as 44% of their workforce to work remotely but added 78% of business leaders think current ways of working styles negatively impacts productivity as some industries struggle to adapt.
Below are the jobs the WEF expects to be lost to machines by 2025:
- Data entry clerks
- Administrative and executive secretaries
- Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks
- Accountants and auditors
- Assembly and factory workers
- Business services and administration managers
- Client information and customer service workers
- General and operations managers
- Mechanics and machinery repairers
- Material-recording and stock-keeping clerks
And here are the new roles felt to face growing demand:
- Data analysts and scientists
- AI and machine learning specialists
- Big data specialists
- Digital marketing and strategy specialists
- Process automation specialists
- Business development professionals
- Digital transformation specialists
- Information security analysts
- Software and applications developers
- Internet of things specialists
WEF said that today around a third of all work responsibilities were handled by machines, with humans doing the rest, but by 2025 the balance would shift.
Roles that depend on human skills such as advising, decision-making, reasoning, communicating and interacting would rise in demand. There would also be a “surge” in call for workers to fill green economy jobs, and new roles in areas like engineering and cloud computing.