The Coronavirus pandemic has pushed companies across the world to accelerate their pace of digital transformation and automation, which, among other things, is likely to lead to a shift in the skills in demand over the next five years, according to a new report on the future of jobs.
Critical thinking and analysis, complex problem-solving and self-management skills such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility are among the top skills and skills groups that global employers view as important in the run up to 2025, said the Future of Jobs 2020 report, released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on October 21. The WEF is an international NGO headquartered in Switzerland.
The report warned that workers across the world faced the “double disruption” of job losses caused by increased automation and the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, which could displace an estimated 85 million jobs over the next five years.
Though 97 million new roles are likely to be created during this period, displaced workers will need to be reskilled and upskilled to take them on. Skills gaps will therefore continue to be high in the run up to 2025, the WEF report said. To plug skills gaps, on average, companies estimate that around 40% of workers will need reskilling of six months or less while 94% of business leaders surveyed said they expected employees to pick up new skills on the job, up from 65% in 2018, the report added.
An analysis for the WEF conducted by LinkedIn’s data science team, however, found that some kind of a “labour force reallocation” is already underway. LinkedIn analysed the job transitions of professionals who moved into emerging jobs over the period 2015 to 2020 and found that 50% of the shifts made into Data and Artificial Intelligence professions were from unrelated occupations. The figures were higher for sales (75%), content (72%) and engineering (67%).
Similarly, an increasing number of people are already looking to learn new skills, said the report citing data analysis by online course provider Coursera. “There has been a four-fold increase in the numbers of individuals seeking out opportunities for learning online through their own initiative, a five-fold increase in employer provision of online learning opportunities to their workers and a nine-fold enrolment increase for learners accessing online learning through government programmes,” it said.
But employment status determines what courses people take, the report added. “Those in employment are placing larger emphasis on personal development courses…Those who are unemployed have placed greater emphasis on learning digital skills such as data analysis, computer science and information technology,” it said.
Companies also needed to invest in better metrics of human and social capital, the report said, adding that business leaders understood that reskilling was good both for business and society. “Companies hope to internally redeploy nearly 50% of workers displaced by technological automation and augmentation, as opposed to making wider use of layoffs and automation-based labour savings as a core workforce strategy,” the report said.
The WEF outlined the key elements for a successful workforce strategy: identifying workers being displaced from their roles; establishing internal committees to manage the displacement; funding reskilling and upskilling either out of company budgets or through government funding; motivating employee engagement in this process; and tracking the long-term success of such transitions.
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Top 15 skills of 2025
1. Analytical thinking and innovation
2. Active learning and learning strategies
3. Complex problem-solving
4. Critical thinking and analysis
5. Creativity, originality and initiative
6. Leadership and social influence
7. Technology use, monitoring and control
8. Technology design and programming
9. Resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility
10. Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
11. Emotional intelligence
12. Troubleshooting and user experience
13. Service orientation
14. Systems analysis and evaluation
15. Persuasion and negotiation
Source: WEF Future of Jobs report 2020
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