TC Global Insights

Future of Work

Jobs and Skills of Tomorrow – Looking at the Jobs Landscape Post-COVID

There are many roads to career-success, but a critical one is the enhancement and development of skills and capabilities – through education, learning, and meaningful work.

The global shift into the future of work is marked by an ever expanding cohort of new technologies, new markets by global markets, which are more interconnected today than ever before. While this technological advancement has definitely led to more and more interconnection and growth, it has also led to jobs becoming redundant, mass job displacement, skills shortages, to name a few.

As per the  third edition of the Future of Jobs Report 2020, taking a global overview of the ongoing technological augmentation of work, emerging and disrupted jobs and skills, projected expansion of mass reskilling and upskilling across industries as well as new strategies for effective workforce transitions need to be at scale.

The report also states that over the past decade, a set of ground-breaking, emerging technologies have signalled the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is believed that by 2025, the capabilities of machines and algorithms will be more broadly employed than in previous years, and the work hours performed by machines will match the time spent working by human beings. The augmentation of work will disrupt the employment prospects of workers across a broad range of industries and geographies. New data from the Future of Jobs Survey suggests that on average 15% of a company’s workforce is at risk of disruption in the horizon up to 2025, and on average 6% of workers are expected to be fully displaced.

Jobs of tomorrow

The Future of Jobs survey is very clear in stating that this disruption will be most felt in most of the jobs which will be replaced by ‘jobs of tomorrow’.

So, what are the jobs of tomorrow?

These are the jobs that have seen an evident rise in demand. Some of them comprise workers who can fill green economy jobs, roles at the forefront of the data and AI economy, as well as new roles in engineering, cloud computing and product development. This set of emerging professions also reflects the continuing importance of human interaction in the new economy, with increasing demand for care economy jobs; roles in marketing, sales and content production; as well as roles at the forefront of people and culture.

The survey further mentions that companies are looking to provide reskilling and upskilling opportunities to the majority of their staff (73%). This is in spite of them being aware of the fact that, by 2025, 44% of the skills that employees will need to perform their roles effectively will change.

What’s important to note is that this is an extremely critical time for the job markets as it juxtaposes two big events simultaneously – the onset of fourth industrial revolution and the Covid-19 recession in context of broader societal and social inequalities. Few analysts propose that technological disruption will lead to shrinking opportunities in the aggregate and many of the insights gathered point to the emergence of new job opportunities. Across countries and supply chains, research has evidenced rising demand for employment in non-routine analytics jobs accompanied by significant automation of routine manual jobs.

COVID-19 has impacted businesses hard. Beginning in mid-March and by mid-April in the last year, nearly 55% of economies (about 100 countries) had enacted workplace closures which affected all but essential businesses. During May and June, economies resumed some in-person business operations—yet limitations to the physical operation of business continue, geographic mobility between countries persist and the consumption patterns of individuals have been dramatically altered. By late June 2020, about 5% of countries globally still mandated a full closure of in-person business operations, and only about 23% of countries were fully back to open .In addition, irrespective of legislated measures, individuals have shifted to working remotely and enacting physical distancing.

Let’s look at some jobs that could become redundant soon

High- risk jobs
  • Data Entry Clerks
  • Administrative and Executive Secretaries
  • Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
  • Accountants and Auditors 5 Assembly and Factory Workers
  • Business Services and Administration Managers
  • Client Information and Customer Service Workers
  • General and Operations Managers
  • Mechanics and Machinery Repairs
  • Material-Recording and Stock-Keeping Clerks
  • Financial Analysts
  • Postal Service Clerks
  • Sales Rep., Wholesale and Manuf., Tech. and Sci.Products
  • Relationship Managers
  • Bank Tellers and Related Clerks
  • Door-To-Door Sales, News and Street Vendors
  • Electronics and Telecoms Installers and Repairers
  • Human Resources Specialists
  • Training and Development Specialists
  • Construction Laborers

The reallocation of current tasks between human and machine is already in motion. One of the central findings of the Future of Jobs 2018 Report continues to hold—by 2025 the average estimated time spent by humans and machines at work will be at parity based on today’s tasks. Algorithms and machines will be primarily focused on the tasks of information and data processing and retrieval, administrative tasks and some aspects of traditional manual labour. The tasks where humans are expected to retain their comparative advantage include managing, advising, decision-making, reasoning, communicating and interacting.

The evidence indicates that some emerging job clusters present significant opportunities for transitions into growing jobs (jobs in increasing demand) through effective career pivots. Among the transitions into Data and AI professions, 50% of the shifts made are from non-emerging roles. That figure is much higher at 75% in Sales, 72% in content roles and 67% of Engineering roles. One could say that such fields are easier to break into, while those such as Data and AI and People and Culture present more challenges. These figures suggest that some level of labour force reallocation is already underway. By analysing these career pivots—instances where professionals transition to wholly new occupations—it becomes apparent that some of these so-called ‘jobs of tomorrow’ present greater opportunities for workers looking to fully switch their job family and therefore present more options to reimagine one’s professional trajectory, while other emerging professions remain more fully bounded.

Technologies likely to be adopted by 2025
  • Cloud computing (17%)
  • Big data analytics (2%)
  • Internet of things and connected devices (9%)
  • Encryption and cybersecurity (29%)
  • Artificial intelligence (inc. ML and NLP) (8%)
  • Text, image and voice processing (-) E-commerce and digital trade (2%)
  • Robots, non-humanoid (e.g industrial automation, drones) (10%)
  • Augmented and virtual reality (1%)
  • Distributed ledger technology (e.g. blockchain) (11%)
  • 3D and 4D printing and modelling (10%)
  • Power storage and generation (-)
  • New materials (e.g. nanotubes, graphene) (-12%)
  • Biotechnology (8%)
  • Robots, humanoid (11%)
  • Quantum computing (-5%)
Emerging and Declining Skills

The ability of global companies to harness the growth potential of new technological adoption is hindered by skills shortages. The Future of Jobs report explicitly mentions that the skills gaps in the local labour market and inability to attract the right talent remain among the leading barriers to the adoption of new technologies. Skill shortages are more acute in emerging professions. Asked to rate the ease of finding skilled employees across a range of new, strategic roles, business leaders consistently cite difficulties when hiring for Data Analysts and Scientists, AI and Machine Learning Specialists as well as Software and Application Developers, among other emerging roles. While an exact skills match is not a prerequisite to making a job transition, the long-term productivity of employees is determined by their mastery of key competencies. This section of the report takes stock of the types of skills that are currently in demand as well as the efforts underway to fill that demand through appropriate reskilling and upskilling.

Top cross-cutting, specialized skills of the future
  • Product marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • Software development life cycle
  • Business management
  • Advertising
  • Human-computer interaction
  • Development tools
  • Data storage technologies
  • Computer networking
  • Web development
  • Management consulting
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Data and Science
  • Retail sales
  • Technical support
  • Social media
  • Graphic design
  • Information management

Through focused efforts, individuals could acquire one of Coursera’s top 10 mastery skills in emerging professions across People and Culture, Content Writing, Sales and Marketing in one to two months. Learners could expand their skills in Product Development and Data and AI in two to three months; and if they wish to fully re-pivot to Cloud and Engineering, learners could make headway into that key skill set through a 4-5 month learning programme.

Such figures suggest that although learning a new skill set is increasingly accessible through new digital technologies, to consolidate new learning individuals will need access to the time and funding to pursue such new career trajectories. LinkedIn data indicates that although many individuals can move into emerging roles with low or mid skills similarity, a low-fit initial transition will still require eventual upskilling and reskilling to ensure long term productivity.

Date added
23.04.2021

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Future of Work

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