The Future of Jobs

The Future of Jobs Report 2020

The Future of Jobs report maps the jobs and skills of the future, tracking the pace of change. It aims to shed light on the pandemic-related disruptions in 2020 and the expected outlook for technology adoption, jobs and skills in the next five years.


The COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns and related global recession of 2020 have created a highly uncertain outlook for the labour market. Despite the currently high degree of uncertainty, the report uses a unique combination of qualitative and quantitative intelligence to expand the knowledge base about the future of jobs and skills. It aggregates the views of business leaders on the frontlines of decision-making regarding human capital with the latest data from public and private sources.

By 2025, automation and a new division of labour between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million jobs globally in medium and large businesses across 15 industries and 26 economies. 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% of business executives are accelerating plans to digitize work processes and deploy new technologies. In contrast to previous years, job creation is now slowing while job destruction is accelerating.


The new sense of urgency for the reskilling revolution

As the economy and job markets evolve, 97 million new roles will emerge across the care economy, in fourth industrial revolution technology industries and content creation fields.  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.

For those workers set to remain in their roles in the next five years, nearly 50% will need reskilling for their core skills. Despite the current economic downturn, most employers recognize the value of reskilling their workforce.


Building a more inclusive future of work

The individuals and communities most negatively affected by the unprecedented changes brought about by COVID-19 are likely to be those that are already most disadvantaged. In the absence of proactive efforts, inequality is likely to be exacerbated by the dual impact of technology and the pandemic recession. Jobs held by lower-wage workers, women and younger workers were more impacted in the first phase of the economic contraction.


Remote working is here to stay but requires adaptation

According to the report, 78% of business leaders expect some negative impact on worker productivity. In other words, this suggests that some industries and companies are struggling to adapt quickly enough to the shift to remote working caused by the pandemic. To address concerns about productivity and well-being, about one-third of all employers say they will take steps to create a sense of community, connection and belonging among their employees. Comparing the impact of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 on individuals with lower education levels on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the impact today is far more significant.


The report’s key findings include:

  • The pace of technology adoption is expected to remain unabated and may accelerate in some areas.
  • Automation, in tandem with the COVID-19 recession, is creating a ‘double-disruption’ scenario for workers. In other words, by 2025 the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal.
  • A significant share of companies also expects to make changes to locations, their value chains, and the size of their workforce due to factors beyond technology in the next five years.
  • Job creation is slowing while job destruction accelerates. It’s estimated that by 2025, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines.
  • The future of work has already arrived for a large majority of the online white-collar workforce ( digitalized working processes and significant expansion of remote work).
  • Online learning and training are on the rise.
  • The window of opportunity to reskill and upskill workers has become shorter in the newly constrained labour market.
  • Despite the current economic downturn, the large majority of employers recognize the value of human capital investment.
  • Companies need to invest in better metrics of human and social capital through the adoption of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics. 
  • The public sector needs to provide stronger support for reskilling and upskilling for at-risk or displaced workers.
  • The public sector will need to create incentives for investments in the markets and jobs of tomorrow a.

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