22 October 2020
Employers will divide work between humans and machines equally by 2025, according to a World Economic Forum study. It noted global workforce is automating faster than expected and 85 million jobs will be displaced by automation in the next five years at midsize and large businesses.
WEC noted that the global recession driven by Covid-19 has accelerated this trend and created a highly uncertain outlook for global labour markets.
Its report noted that more than 80% of business executives are accelerating plans to digitise work processes and 50% are expecting to accelerate the automation of some roles.
Affected roles include those in data entry, accounting and administrative report. On the other hand, roles that leverage human skills will rise in demand.
“Covid-19 has accelerated the arrival of the future of work,” World Economic Forum Managing Director Saadia Zahidi said. “Accelerating automation and the fallout from the Covid-19 recession has deepened existing inequalities across labour markets and reversed gains in employment made since the global financial crisis in 2007-2008.”
Some 43% of businesses surveyed indicate that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, 41% plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work, and 34% plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration.
The World Economic Forum reported the “robot revolution” will create 97 million new jobs. Still, communities most at risk from disruption will need support from businesses and governments.
Roles where humans will retain a competitive advantage include managing, advising, decision-making, reasoning, communicating and interacting. Roles will also be available in green economy jobs, data and artificial intelligence, engineering, cloud computing, and product development.
On the changes to job markets driven by new technologies, Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, warned that “Internet-mediated platform jobs are absolutely breaking down wages and conditions.”
Burrow called for a new social contract between workers, employers and governments to ensure that every working person enjoys an adequate minimum wage for a maximum number of hours worked, universal social protection and occupational health and safety as a fundamental right.
“Technology has a major, if not the most important, role in shaping the future of work,” added C. Vijayakumar, President and Chief Executive Officer, HCL Technologies.