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

Future of Work

There could be many roads to career success that one can take. However, the critical one that remains is the development of one’s skills and capabilities. Such capabilities and skills can be developed through education, learning, and abundant, meaningful work.

Its inter-connectedness exceptionally marks the global shift into the future of work. An ever-expanding cohort of new technologies characterizes it. While such advancement has led to increased interconnection and growth, it has also led to jobs becoming redundant, mass job displacement, skills shortages etc.

According to the third edition of the Future of Jobs Report 2020, many things need to be done at scale. These include taking a global overview of the ongoing technological augmentation of work, emerging and disrupted jobs and skills, mass reskilling and upskilling across industries, and new strategies for effective workforce transitions.

The report also states that a set of ground-breaking, emerging technologies have signalled the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution over the past decade. It is believed that by 2025, a major change in how we work will be noticed. It looks like more machines and algorithms will be broadly employed, and this will reduce the time spent by human beings. It will most definitely disrupt the employment opportunities for workers employed across a broad range of industries. According to the Future of Jobs Survey, on average, 15% of a company’s workforce will remain at risk of disruption in the horizon up to 2025. On average, 6% of these workers are expected to be entirely displaced.

Jobs of tomorrow

The Future of Jobs survey is evident in stating that this disruption will be most felt in most jobs replaced by ‘jobs of tomorrow.

So, what are the jobs of tomorrow?

These are the jobs that have seen an evident rise in demand. These jobs will tend to have people who can fill new roles such as green economy, data, AI, engineering, cloud computing, and product development. These roles reflect the emerging importance of human interaction with increased jobs in the care economy, marketing, sales, content, and those involving people and culture.

The survey further mentions that companies are looking to provide reskilling and upskilling opportunities to most of their staff, about 73%. Despite them being aware that, by 2025, 44% of the skills that employees will need to perform their roles effectively will change.

It is crucial for job markets because of the emergence of two prominent events: the fourth industrial revolution and the Covid-19 induced recession. While some analysts believe that a technical disruption will lead to a shortage of available opportunities, other experts believe that there will be an emergence of new job opportunities. According to research, there is a rising demand for jobs in non-routine analytics. This is further accompanied by a need for the 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, near about 100 countries, had enacted workplace closures. During May and June, some in-person business operations were resumed. However, there were limitations to the physical movement, geographic mobility between countries, and alteration in the consumption patterns of individuals. By late June 2020, about 5% of countries were under a full closure of in-person business operations. Only about 23% of countries were entirely back to open. In addition, individuals shifted to working remotely and enacted 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

It looks like the reallocation of current tasks between humans and machines have already begun. A major finding of the Future of Jobs report 2018 was that by 2025, the average time that people and machines spend at work will be at par. This means that algorithms will focus on information and data processing tasks along with administrative and manual labour. These are the same tasks where people are expected to hold onto their differentiating capability by working on skills such as managing, advising, decision making, reasoning, communicating etc.

There is enough research and evidence that marks the presence of significant opportunities for transitions into jobs that have increased demand. Talking about the movement towards increased data and AI professions, about 50% of them refer to non-emerging roles.

The same is about 75% in Sales, 72% in content roles and 67% in Engineering roles. These figures indicate that a good deal of the labour force is already being reallocated. Looking at such transitions, it become clear how ‘jobs of tomorrow’ only present greater opportunities for employees to reimagine their career.

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

While global companies have a massive ability to harness their growth potential by adoption of various technological ideas, the onyl thing that could be a barrier is skill 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.

The shortage of skills have been found to be more acute in certain emerging professions. Business leaders have repeatedly pointed out the difficulty in finding skilled employees when hiring in leads such as Data Analysts and Scientists, AI, Machine Learning, Software developers etc. It is pertinent for employees to have a mastery over key components and only that helps in a proper job transition.

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

In today’s world it is not very difficult to reskill or upskill oneself. Individuals could acquire a top Coursera’s course and enhance their capabilities in professions including content writing, sales and marketing, people and culture etc. In fact through a 4-5 month learning programme, one could easily expand their skills in Product Development, Data, AI, Cloud Engineering etc.

One needs to keep in mind that while learning a new skill has now become easy because of the new digital technologies, one still needs time and money to pursue something new. It is suggested that for many individuals aiming at emerging roles, eventual upskilling or reskilling will be required.

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Future of Work


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