How has COVID-19 affected the future of jobs? | World Economic Forum

The uncertainty that the COVID-19 pandemic has forged in the labor market spurred the arrival of the future of jobs.

“The Future of Jobs” report by the World Economic Forum analyzes the shifts in a long-term economic situation in the world, as well as the role of technology and skills in demand in the future of the job market.

Here are the principal discoveries of the 2020 report:

There is a substantial rise in demand for artificial intelligence, non-humanoid robots, and encryption. Technology might penetrate the future job market at a higher speed in some areas.

There is a “double-disruption scenario for workers” due to COVID-19 and higher interest in automation. Companies are more and more eager to adopt technology and transform their workforce. 43% of surveyed businesses are planning to reduce their human workforce and replace them with technology, but around 34% are planning to increase their workforce because of technological integration.

“By 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by humans and machines will be equal”.

More jobs are expected to be created rather than destroyed. However, job creation is slowing, while job elimination expedites. According to collected numbers, almost 85 million jobs will be displaced due to change in the division of labor between machines and humans, at the same time 97 million new roles might develop because of the new division of labor.

The group of skills that employers are searching for the most includes problem-solving, critical thinking, analysis, active learning, flexibility, self-management, and most importantly, stress-tolerance. 94% of employers expect their employees to acquire new skills. This is a significant change from 2018 data.

Nation-wide lockdowns in countries have hindered the work of a lot of employees at first. After several months of working from home has shown that remote work might be even benign. Around 48% of employers are ready to promptly digitalize their working force.

Recession and rapid digitalization caused by pandemic have impacted lower-wage workers, women, and younger works the most. Experts say that the impact the 2008 Global Financial Crisis had on people with lower education is nowhere close to the impact that COVID-19 had on this group of people. 2020 will aggravate already existing inequalities.

It is still unclear what will be the long-term consequences for the most affected industries. Thus, it is of vital importance to support workers during this unprecedented shift in the division of labor and protect human capital. Governments should prioritize expanding social protection, as unemployment will impact a large number of people.