The Fourth Industrial Revolution has people questioning if robots are going to replace humans – especially as it pertains to work. While the future of work does look different with breakthroughs in technologies like robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), nanotechnology, quantum computing, the Internet of things (IoT), 3D printing and autonomous vehicles, humans are still needed.
According to the World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report 2018,” 74 million current jobs will be displaced by machines and algorithms by 2022, but 133 million new jobs will be created as well. While the division of labor in 2018 is 71% human and 29% machine, by 2025 it’s expected to be 48% human and 52% machine. Forces like the global marketplace, growing economy and increasing productivity will warrant the net growth of future jobs. But new skills are necessary for humans to be successful in the future workplace.
The demand for human skills is not diminishing but an individual’s ability to earn a living is reducing – and trending toward technological capabilities. Jobs like data analysts and scientists, AI and machine learning specialists, big data specialists and digital transformation specialists will be on the rise come 2022. The following careers are expected to decline in demand: data entry clerks; accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks; administrative and executive secretaries, assembly and factory workers; client information and customer service workers; business services and administration managers; accountants and auditors; material-recording and stock-keeping clerks; and postal service clerks.
AI and the future of work is changing the employer-employee relationship as well. As companies need fewer human labor hours, they are shifting to an increasingly borderless workforce. This means human labor hours are coming in the shape of gig workers, contingent workers, freelance workers, part-time employees and partner employees, in addition to the traditional full-time employee. Increased human lifespan has us moving away from a traditional career path as well, with individuals entering and exiting the workforce as familial responsibilities, passion projects and other opportunities and challenges arise.
So, while roles are becoming redundant in the future workplace and individuals have less of a variety of opportunities to earn a livelihood, the overall job outlook is positive. It may mean employees need to reskill, with a focus on technological aptitudes. The future of work looks different – but is anything but bleak for us.