The World Economic Forum has released new predictions about job loss and creation in Industry 4.0.
First, they’re predicting that 70 million jobs may be lost to automation. On the other hand, 135 million new jobs may be created along the way. The net gain of 50+ million jobs will require different skills than the jobs that will be lost.
Goodbye to accountants, administrators, clerks, factory line workers, and managers. New jobs will be available for tech specialists, software developers, data analysts and scientists.
The problem, from the point of view of job seekers, is that accountants and line workers who lose their jobs to automatons won’t be able to jump right into positions as scientists and software developers.
That’s the problem from the point of view of employers, too. Replacing Jenny the manager with a clever piece of software won’t transform Jenny into a data analyst.
The likely result? According to the new report, the undesirable scenario is “talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality.” Avoiding that will require lots of training. The WEF calls on individuals to be proactive about their own skills, but also wants to see industry and government involved.
The WEF sees four positive drivers of new technology and job expansion:
- High-speed mobile internet access
- Cloud technology
- Big data
- Artificial intelligence
With these technologies advancing, companies will need to join in or get out of the way. Machine learning and robotics are also major players in the near future.
Existing jobs will see a change in the balance between humans and machines: more tasks will be automated, freeing human beings for more creative work. The outcome can’t necessarily be predicted at this point, but the WEF expects more remote work, which could also mean more part time and contracted work.
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