World Economic Forum: The Future of Jobs

Posted By on January 18, 2016

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In World Economic Forum: The Future of Jobs we see the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ change the job landscape forever.

Today, on January 18th 2016, the World Economic Forum (WEF) releases its report on ‘The Future of Jobs’.

It talks about how the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ – with developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, biotechnology, and other areas – are all building on and amplifying one another.

This revolution is more comprehensive and all-encompassing than anything we have ever seen and will have a direct impact on the work ecosystem. Smart systems—homes, factories, farms, grids or cities—will help tackle problems ranging from supply chain management to climate change. The rise of the sharing economy will allow people to monetize everything from their empty house to their car.

While the impending change holds great promise, the patterns of consumption, production and employment created by it also pose major challenges requiring proactive adaptation by corporations, governments and individuals.

Concurrent to the technological revolution are a set of broader socio-economic, geopolitical and demographic drivers of change, each interacting in multiple directions and intensifying one another. As entire industries adjust, most occupations are undergoing a fundamental transformation. While some jobs are threatened by redundancy and others grow rapidly, existing jobs are also going through a change in the skill sets required to do them.

The debate on these transformations is often polarized between those who foresee limitless new opportunities and those that foresee massive dislocation of jobs. In fact, the reality is highly specific to the industry, region and occupation in question as well as the ability of various stakeholders to manage change.

This revolution is transforming the labour markets beyond all recognition and will lead to a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies by 2020. These countries include Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States. The report also states that while skills and jobs displacement will affect every industry and geographical region, these job losses can be offset by employment growth in other areas.

The following drivers of change are shown in the report:

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WEF estimated that 7.1 million jobs could be lost through redundancy, automation or disintermediation while the creation of 2.1 million new jobs, mainly in more specialised areas such as computing, maths, architecture and engineering could partially offset some of the losses.

There is an optimism to the report as well:

The current technological revolution need not become a race between humans and machines but rather an opportunity for work to truly become a channel through which people recognize their full potential. To ensure that we achieve this vision, we must become more specific and much faster in understanding the changes underway and cognizant of our collective responsibility to lead our businesses and communities through this transformative moment.

Read more articles related to the Future of Work and Jobs:

Nikolas writes extensively on the future or work and more articles can also be seen here.


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.

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