Automation technologies are already creating a seismic shift in the way we work, but the World Economic Forum (WEF) predicts that they will create more jobs than they will kill over the next four years, according to a new report.
WEF expects automation to create 133 million new jobs by 2022, a far greater number compared to the 75 million jobs likely to be displaced during the same period.
“While nearly 50% of all companies expect their full-time workforce to shrink by 2022 as a result of automation, almost 40% expect to extend their workforce generally and more than a quarter expect automation to create new roles in their enterprise,” the report noted.
Some workers will see a dramatic increase in their value. Data analysts, software and applications developers, and e-commerce and social media specialists, customer service workers, and marketing professionals are likely to see greater demand for their skills.
However, many white-collar roles – such as data entry clerks, accounting and payroll clerks – will become obsolete.
WEF has urged governments around the world to re-skill their workforce and encourage remote working practices, adding that permanent jobs will soon become a few and far between.
In the report, based on a survey of HR officials in about 20 countries, WEF says it found 54% of employees in large companies lacking the required skills to harness the growth opportunities offered by the fourth industrial revolution.
Most companies are re-skilling people in key positions rather than those at the risk of losing jobs to automation.
“It is critical that businesses take an active role in supporting their existing workforces through re-skilling and up-skilling, that individuals take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning, and that governments create an enabling environment to facilitate this workforce transformation, This is the key challenge of our time,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.