Hello and thanks for reading.
When one thinks of automation, the idea that comes to mind is that it will change how many businesses operate, namely by streamlining production and work. For many, this is a fancy way of saying that it will put millions out of work. However, it appears that our friends at the World Economic Forum see things differently. Click here to read their report.
I will spare you reading a 147 page report. It goes into great detail how automation and IoT will change how business is done, what jobs will be in demand and how it will eliminate many jobs. This is the usual scary story that we hear … but this time, it comes with a twist.
It estimates that while 75 million jobs will be eliminated in the next 7-10 years, as many as 133 million new ones will emerge. The jobs being eliminated will mostly be “tasks that have become automated or redundant”, while the jobs being created will be in new products and services to help the world make this transition. The report goes on to echo what I have said for years in that the most in-demand roles going forward will be in Data analysis, Engineering and skills that are “distinctly human” and cannot be duplicated by machines (such as Sales and Marketing). The report goes onto say that the majority of current workers will need to have substantial skill training (as much as one year full-time) to adapt to this changing climate.
So, does this mean that we are all good then, since it will create more jobs than it eliminates? Far from it, actually …
Most of the new jobs being created will require specialized degrees, and with the growing economy, these jobs are already not being filled. So, the current mismatch of the labour pool (where we have millions unemployed who lack the skills to thrive in the new economy, while companies have equally large demand for skilled roles that they cannot fill) will only be made worse. So, even if the WEF were to be correct, where will these 133 million new skilled workers come from?
We need to act fast …
• Start to invest in training for engineering, design, sales, creativity and other key sectors
• Offer tax breaks and incentives for companies to re-train their key workers
• Change our focus in post secondary education to get more students to move towards these sectors
• Start to change how we educate our children, starting as young as age 5, to thrive in this new environment.