The ways in which we work and the jobs of today are being revolutionised by technological developments. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks and roles. According to the 2018 World Economic Forum Future of Jobs Report, 75 million jobs are expected to be displaced by 2022 in 20 major economies. This unprecedented pace of technological change transforming our way of life even coined a new buzz word, "Globalization 4.0" at the 2019 World Economic Forum.
A paper from PwC, The Lost Workforce: Upskilling for the Future – released in conjunction with the 2018 World Government Summit in Dubai – paints a bleak picture of the future should no action be taken, emphasising that a lost workforce represents an “incredible loss in growth and economic prosperity".
“The skills gap is widening,” the authors write. “As certain skills become increasingly obsolete, the demand for other, newer skillsets are not being met by the available workforce. Multiple industries are suffering massive layoffs due to the evolution of core skill sets, while simultaneously falling short in resourcing key jobs and/or areas that are critical to success. The implications of high unemployment rates – especially in youths and older workers – coupled with increasing job vacancies are undeniable.”
The paper calls for governments to redouble their efforts and implement a “holistic and sustainable solution that distributes power and accountability”. A future that provides students – the future working population – with meaningful options. The solutions outlined provide strategies for resolving upskilling issues to generate sustainable growth, employability and inclusion.
With technology continuing to disrupt, governments around the world are taking action. In early 2019, President Trump signed an executive order for the 'American AI Initiative' while the UAE announced a nationwide programme which aims to help Emirati nationals develop the skills required to fill future jobs and keep pace with rapid transformations in the labour market.
In this fundamental age of transformation, it’s crucial for governments to be future-minded and prepare for the changes affecting the workforce. As Charles Darwin once said: "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change".