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Earlier this week, World Economic Forum published a report, The Future of Jobs Report 2018, which is based on a survey they conducted to analyze the trends in the job sector in the period 2018-2022. This survey considered 20 economies and 12 industry sectors.

The main focus of this survey was to better understand the potential of new technologies, including automation and algorithms, to create new high-quality jobs and improve the existing job quality and productivity of human employees.

Key findings from The Future of Jobs survey

#1 Technological advances will drive business growth

By 2022, we will see four key technologies enabling business growth: high-speed mobile internet, artificial intelligence, widespread adoption of big data analytics, and cloud technology.

85% of the companies are expected to invest in big data analytics. A large share of companies are also interested in adopting internet of things, app- and web-enabled markets, and cloud computing. Machine learning and augmented and virtual reality will also see considerable business investment.

Source: World Economic Forum

#2 Acceptance of robots varies across sectors

The demand for humanoid robots will be limited in this period, as businesses are more gravitating towards robotics technologies that are at or near commercialization. These technologies include stationary robots, non-humanoid land robots and fully automated aerial drones, in addition to machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence.

Majority of companies (37% to 29%) are showing interest in adopting stationary robots. Oil & Gas industry report the same level of demand for stationary, aerial, and
underwater robots. Financial Services industry is planning the adoption of humanoid robots in the period up to 2022.

#3 Towards equal work distribution between machines and humans

Almost 50% of the companies are expecting that by 2022 automation will lead to some reduction in workforce. While 38% of the companies are more likely to shift their workforce to new productivity-enhancing roles. And more than quarter believe that automation will lead to the creation of new roles in their enterprise.

The period from 2018-2022 will see a significant shift in the division of work between humans, machines, and algorithms. Currently, across all the 12 industries surveyed, 71% of the task hours are performed by humans, compared to 29% by machines. By 2022, this average will this average is expected to have shifted to 58% task hours performed by humans and 42% by machines.

Source: World Economic Forum

Read also: 15 millions jobs in Britain at stake with Artificial Intelligence robots set to replace humans at workforce

#4 Emergence of new job opportunities

By 2020, with technological advancements newly emerging job roles and opportunities are expected to grow from 16% to 27% of the employee base. The job roles that are affected by technological obsolescence are set to decrease from 31% to 21%. The survey also revealed that there will be a decline of 0.98 million jobs and a gain of 1.74 million jobs.

The professions that will enjoy increasing demand include Data Analysts and Scientists, Software and Applications Developers, and Ecommerce and Social Media Specialists. As you can already tell, these are the roles that are significantly based on and enhanced by the use of technology.

Read also: Highest Paying Data Science Jobs in 2017

Roles that leverage ‘human’ skills are also expected to grow, such as Customer Service Workers, Sales and Marketing Professionals, Training and Development, People and Culture, and Organizational Development Specialists as well as Innovation Managers.

Source: World Economic Forum

#5 Upskilling and reskilling is the need of the hour

With so many businesses embracing technological advancements for business growth, around 54% of the employees will require significant reskilling and upskilling. Out of these 35% are expected to require additional training of up to six months, 9% will require reskilling lasting six to 12 months, while 10% will require additional skills training of more than a year.

The key skills that are expected to grow by 2022 include analytical thinking and innovation as well as active learning and learning strategies. Along with these skills, there is an increase in demand for technology design and programming. This indicates a growing demand for various forms of technology competency identified by employers surveyed for this report.

Read also: A non programmer’s guide to learning Machine learning

Employers are also looking for “human” skills in their employees which include creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation. Social influence and emotional intelligence leadership will also see an outsized increase in demand.

Read also: 96% of developers believe developing soft skills is important

Source: World Economic Forum

#6 How companies are planning to address skills gaps

To address the skill gaps widened by the adoption of new technologies, companies have highlighted three future strategies. They expect to hire wholly new permanent staff already possessing skills relevant to new technologies, seek to automate the work tasks concerned completely, and retrain existing employees.

Read also: Stack skills, not degrees: Industry-leading companies, Google, IBM, Apple no longer require degrees

Most companies are considering the option of hiring new permanent staff with relevant skills. A quarter of them are undecided to pursue the retraining of existing employees and two-thirds expect their employees to acquire these skills during their transition period. Between one-half and two-thirds are likely to turn to external contractors, temporary staff and freelancers to address their skills gaps.

Source: World Economic Forum

Read also: Why learn machine learning as a non-techie?

The advancements in technology will come with its own pros and cons. Automation and work augmentation in business will result in decreasing the demand of some of the current job roles. At the same time, this will also open up more opportunities for an entirely new range of livelihood options for workers. To be prepared for this shift, with the help of our employers, we need to upskill ourselves with an agile mindset.

To know more in detail, check out the report published by World Economic Forum: The Future of Jobs 2018.

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