The decisions and choices we make today will determine the course of entire generations’ lives and livelihoods. The Future of Jobs Report (made by the World Economic Forum, 2020) provides the timely insights needed to orient labour markets and workers towards the future of work. Now in its third edition, the report maps the jobs and skills of the future, tracking the pace of change and direction of travel.
Some key findings:
Skills gaps continue to be high as in-demand skills across jobs change in the next five years. The top skills and skill groups which employers see as rising in prominence in the lead up to 2025 include groups such as critical thinking and analysis as well as problem-solving, and skills in self-management such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility. On average, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will require reskilling of six months or less and 94% of business leaders report that they expect employees to pick up new skills on the job, a sharp uptake from 65% in 2018.
In the absence of proactive efforts, inequality is likely to be exacerbated by the dual impact of technology and the pandemic recession. Jobs held by lower wage workers, women and younger workers were more deeply impacted in the first phase of the economic contraction. Comparing the impact of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 on individuals with lower education levels to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the impact today is far more significant and more likely to deepen existing inequalities.
Despite the current economic downturn, the large majority of employers recognize the value of human capital investment. An average of 66% of employers surveyed expect to get a return on investment in upskilling and reskilling within one year. However, this time horizon risks being too long for many employers in the context of the current economic shock, and nearly 17% remain uncertain on having any return on their investment.
Developing and enhancing human skills and capabilities through education, learning and meaningful work are key drivers of economic and personal success, high achievement, individual well-being and societal cohesion. Let’s take steps towards this goal!