The Strategist

WEF: New technologies will reshape the global labor market

10/17/2016 - 15:21

According to the World Economic Forum, the global labor market will have created 2 million new jobs by 2020, yet at the same time, 7.1 million will disappear.

The new jobs will appear in intellectual and high-tech sectors, while real sector and sphere of administrative will shrink. Researchers believe that there will be two groups of factors to influence the labor market: social and demographic situation, and development of new technologies. According to their estimates, 65% of children, which this year went to the first grade, will have completely new professions, which do not even exist now. This will be prompted by widespread use of big data, cloud computing, mobile Internet and Internet of Things.

The world’s trends

The researchers surveyed HR-directors of 2450 companies in nine sectors of the world economy in 15 countries. They appealed to 100 largest multinational corporations in every industry, and to 50 largest national companies in each country.

The majority of respondents believe the most promising professions are mathematician, programmer and system architect. 34% of respondents said that, in their opinion, mobile Internet and cloud computing will have the greatest impact on the labor market until 2020, 26% named big data technology, 14% - Internet of Things, 9% - development of robotics and 6% - automation of production.

Respondents also answered a question of how all these factors would affect growth or decline in employment in different sectors up to 2020.

According to the study, large data up will increase number of jobs in mathematics and computer science by 4.59% before 2020. The administrative sphere will receive 1.39% of the growth, the financial sector - 1.34% and sales - 1.25% per year.

However, the same big data will reduce number of office staff jobs at 6.06% per year. The WEF says that Internet of Things will lead to employment growth in computer jobs to 4.54% per year. Rise in demand for specialists in design and engineering will number 3.54%. On the other hand, the same factors will reduce employment of specialists in maintenance, repair and installation of equipment by as much as 8% per year, and office workers - by 6,20%.

Employment in industry will be strongly affected by new manufacturing technology and 3D printers (number of jobs will be reduced by 3.60% per year). Much lesser curtailment (0.83%) is expected in robotics and automatic transport development.

In general, specialists on data analysis and management of complex technological processes are the least likely to become jobless. On the other hand, routine, unskilled laborers have a great chance to be unclaimed, says the WEF report.

The most popular jobs

According to the study, changes in the labor market will lead to change in the most sought-after skills. In particular, priority will be given to candidates who possess a number of qualities necessary in the changed working conditions. WEF’s experts identified 10 basic qualities, which will become the highest priority for employers when looking for new employees in 2020. These qualities include the following:

1. Complex problem solving

2. Critical thinking

3. Creativity

4. People management

5. The ability to collaborate with others

6. Emotional Intelligence

7. Discretion and ability to make decisions

8. Focus on services

9. Ability to negotiate

10. Cognitive flexibility

Creativity will be one of the most much-needed qualities. Given emergence of new products, new technologies and new methods of work, employees need to be more creative to get the most from these changes. As noted in the study, robots will help do the job faster, but they may not be as creative as humans.

The study also compares the most popular qualities in 2015 and 2020. "Negotiating skills" and "flexibility" occupy a high position in the ranking for 2015. By 2020, however, they will start to fall down since, according to the researchers, decision-making will be passed onto machines. Moreover, according to WEF, artificial intelligence may even participate in meetings of the board of directors by the 2026.

Active listening, the skill that is today considered the must, will completely fall out of the top 10 in 2020. On the other hand, emotional intelligence, which is now not included in the top 10, will be one of the highest priorities in the future.

Overall, nature of changes will depend heavily on a sector itself. WEF notes that the media and entertainment sector have already reshaped over the past 5 years. In turn, sectors such as financial services and investment are still waiting for their striking change, said the WEF. Sales and industrial production will require new skills and qualifications, such as technological literacy. 


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