WEF Future of Jobs Report 2018
The emerging contours of the new world of work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution are rapidly becoming a lived reality for millions of workers and companies around the world. The inherent opportunities for economic prosperity, societal progress and individual flourishing in this new world of work are enormous, yet depend crucially on the ability of all concerned stakeholders to instigate reform in education and training systems, labour market policies, business approaches to developing skills, employment arrangements and existing social contracts. Catalysing positive outcomes and a future of good work for all will require bold leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit from businesses and governments, as well as an agile mindset of lifelong learning from employees.
To prevent an undesirable lose-lose scenario—technological change accompanied by talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality—it is critical that businesses take an active role in supporting their existing workforces through reskilling and upskilling, that individuals take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning and that governments create an enabling environment, rapidly and creatively, to assist in these efforts. Our analysis indicates that, to date, many employers’ retraining and upskilling efforts remain focused on a narrow set of current highly-skilled, highly-valued employees. However, in order to truly rise to the challenge of formulating a winning workforce strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, businesses will need to recognize human capital investment as an asset rather than a liability. This is particularly imperative because there is a virtuous cycle between new technologies and upskilling. New technology adoption drives business growth, new job creation and augmentation of existing jobs, provided it can fully leverage the talents of a motivated and agile workforce who are equipped with futureproof skills to take advantage of new opportunities through continuous retraining and upskilling. Conversely, skills gaps—both among workers and among an organization’s senior leadership—may significantly hamper new technology adoption and therefore business growth.