We are entering the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, says a report titled “The Future of Jobs” by the World Economic Forum. AI, machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3d printing, genetics, biotechnology are all making up a part of this new industrial revolution and interacting with each other on a massive scale.
This is causing huge turbulence in the job market, the full effects of which are still largely unknown. An estimated 65% of children who enter primary school today will end up working jobs that don’t exist yet.
In general, in all industries, the top social change is in work environments and flexible arrangements. Younger generations place a high emphasis on flexibility when job seeking. This is right in line with technological improvements of mobile internet, cloud technology, computing power and big data. Remote working and co-working spaces are becoming the new norm. Business, in general, is trending towards a smaller pool of full-time employees for every-day essential processes and backed up by colleagues, consultants, and contractors for other specific purposes.
Not only are these changes happening globally, each change is interacting in multiple directions and intensifying each other.
Many of these changes pose major challenges to corporations, governments, societies, and individuals. Proactive adaptation is the name of the game today and it will increase in the next 5-10 years. Those who continually learn and unlearn will be the ones most in demand. Large corporations are at a clear disadvantage. The larger the corporation, the harder and slower it is for them to adapt. The small, tight-knit groups who can be flexible and innovative are the ones who will experience the greatest growth.
While changes are swift with far-reaching implications, experts predict the net jobs to grow slightly. Decreases in one sector will be replaced by increases in complementary areas.
For example, many standard labor jobs will be taken away by 3d printing, resource-efficient sustainable production, and robotics. This will increase architecture and engineering jobs instead as more technological applications are discovered.
There will be a fast-growing need for skilled technicians and specialists to create and manage advanced automated production systems. Installation, maintenance, retrofitting and repair of green technology will increase. Experts also foresee strong growth in the computer and mathematical job family due to rapid urbanization, smart systems, and the massive integration of computers run processes in everyday life.
Customer service jobs are expected to drop drastically as robots, software and AI automation of standard processes. Yet by far, the biggest decline will be in office and administrative roles. Of the estimated 7.1 million jobs lost, two thirds will be in office and administration. A close second has been manufacturing and production. While this industry has been hit hard experts feel this industry may have already seen the worst.
The amount of change is a hard pill for some to swallow but its opening up huge opportunities in other roles.
Data analysts are the most in demand now and will continue to be important in the future. Technology is growing the amount of data we have access to every second of every day. Technological disruptions open up key insights to those who can make sense of the torrent of data, but only if you can make sense of it all. Because there is so much change and data happening in all levels of business, people who can make sense of it and advise on strategic actions are vital.
The second job type that will grow the most is specialized sales representatives. New applications of technology are being found every day, and with it, new companies are being born. The rate at which this is happening is staggering and will only increase in the future. In an already noisy world, skilled salespeople who can explain and connect to other businesses, governments and customers will be highly coveted.
This is merely the tip of the iceberg, however. The ability to work with data is becoming increasingly vital, no matter what your job description. The skills required to operate today have changed and education is now more essential than it ever has been. Specialists will be in-demand in almost every sector possible because it will take an expert to stay on top of changes and up-to-date tools. Organizational, human resources, engineering, materials, biochemical, nanotech, robotics, regulatory, government relations, geospatial information system experts, commercial and industrial designers are all going to require specialists that will be highly in demand.
By understanding these shifts you can prepare now to the changing environment. While no-one knows exactly how the chips will fall, the motivated individual who makes it their mission to continually educate themselves will have a clear advantage in the future.