December 14 2020

What is the Future of Jobs?

Image: World Economic Forum.

"Every business leader can have a direct role in creating economic opportunity for millions of people by investing in education and training programs for existing and potential talent."

Marc Benioff, World Economic Forum

For years, the technological changes that are part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution have brought us closer and closer to the future of employment, as new technologies automate work processes in some jobs and industries and create new opportunities in others. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the speed of this transformation.

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the revolution of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. The world’s increasing interconnectivity is giving us a new form of globalisation in which ever more diverse and international teams of people are working together.

Identifying businesses as “incredible platforms for change,” Marc Benioff wrote for the World Economic Forum that “every business leader can have a direct role in creating economic opportunity for millions of people by investing in education and training programs for existing and potential talent.”

Pointing to companies such as Dow, IBM, and Siemens, which are already investing in programs to help people to acquire new skills, Benioff called on companies to do more to “build the workforce of the future, while bringing along the workforce of today.

The recently released World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report found that more than 80% of employers expect to make more use of remote work and to digitise working processes. The workplace is changing, as well, with an increase in remote working needed due to the spread of COVID-19. Employers hope to enable remote work across 44% of their workforce.

The Future of Jobs Survey data shows that nearly half of all workers will need reskilling, up 4% compared to last year. Employers are increasingly recognising the value of investing in their employees’ skill development — an average of 66% of those surveyed said they expect to see a return in investment in reskilling and upskilling within a year. These efforts are also increasingly moving to online platforms, suggesting a significant shift to digital-first learning [link].

While we cannot lose focus of the huge changes that are taking place we must ensure the well-being of employees. COVID-19 has caused a variety of stresses to life, health and overall wellness. Remote workers are faced with potential well-being and mental health challenges due to extensive changes to working practices. Wellness is something we think a lot about [link] here at Connect with Language.

Learning How to Learn

Critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills that employers believe will grow in prominence in the next five years. These have been consistent since the first Future of Jobs report from the World Economic Forum in 2016. But newly emerging in the 2020 report are skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. Learning better is something we love to discuss [link] as well as how L&D can help employees develop a growth mindset.

Businesses are set to accelerate the digitalisation of work processes, learning, expansion of remote work, as well as the automation of tasks within organisations. While it remains difficult to establish the long-term consequences of the pandemic on the demand for products and services in seriously affected industries, supporting workers during this transition will protect one of the key assets of any company and country—its human capital.

If you’d like to discuss any of the topics raised here, please click on the chat in the bottom right corner of the screen and say hello. Ask us anything – really.


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