"Disruptive changes to business models will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years" - The Future of Jobs, WEF Report
Disruptions can be seen in every aspect of business – and not only businesses, but in many other domains – whether technology, science or AI. Businesses are fighting to adapt to the changing demands of a constantly evolving world and also formulating proactive action plans to adapt to such transforming trends. On the other side, the effects of such disruptions are significantly seen on employment, skills, recruitment scenario and even on gender dynamics. Today, while some jobs are becoming redundant due to various disruptions, others demand highly specialized skill sets.
We are all set for a fourth industrial revolution, as per the Future of Jobs report by the World Economic Forum. The report highlights that the “disruptive changes to business models will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years.” The advancements in the field of nanotechnology, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence have already started providing smarter cities, factories and processing units. These combined with the larger socio-economic and demographic changes across time will create the need to re-evaluate necessary skill set, which would push the existing gap further. The report states that in the period leading up to 2020, more than 5 million jobs will be lost due to the disruptions in labour market. Technological disruptions like machine learning and robotics will lead to the automation of specific jobs. Currently, mobile internet and cloud technology along with Big Data applications are considered the biggest drivers of change. But moving towards 2020 the report shows a significant rise in robotics, autonomous transportation and artificial intelligence as drivers of change. These disruptions would free up workers for newer tasks and their employment would demand an update of their skill sets. Even the jobs which are relatively stable may require regular upgrade of skill sets as they now operate in constantly evolving ecosystems. And by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will comprise skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today. Social skills such as persuasion, emotional intelligence, creativity and complex problem solving will be in higher demand across industries than narrow technical skills, such as programming or equipment operation and control.
As fast emerging digital ecosystems create the foundation for the next wave of disruption by straddling markets and blurring industry boundaries; forward-thinking leaders have the opportunity to proactively predict these ecosystem trajectories and map out the change in skill set to gain a competitive advantage. Millennials today are optimistic in the face of a challenging future. According to a research done by Infosys, respondents across the BRIC nations showed a greater confidence in their skill sets as compared to their peers in developed countries.
With an expected population of 1.3 billion by 2020, 60 percent of which would be in the working age group (15-59 years), India is poised to be the powerhouse of the coming decade. According to a research by Boston Consulting Group, by 2020 India will have a huge surplus of active population - about 47 million people. There will be people but with skills that corporate do not require, and jobs for which the right fit is not available. Given this impending crisis, there is a need of positive action from organisations. The report by World Economic Forum also notes that in a survey done with CHROs across the globe, only 53 percent were reasonably sure in the adequacy of their organizations’ future workforce strategy to address these shifts; while 50 percent of the respondents cited insufficient knowledge about the disruptions acting as a barrier to modify skill development initiatives within the organisations. Will our inability to adapt threaten the future of employability? “Without urgent and targeted action today to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with future proof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum in a press release.
In such a rapidly evolving employment landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements is becoming increasingly critical for businesses to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends and to mitigate undesirable outcomes.