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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article22 August 2019European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion3 min read

6 ways the world of work is evolving

Technological advances, scientific discoveries and changing consumer demands have transformed today’s labour market. But what does the future hold until 2022? We turned to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018 to find out.

6 ways the world of work is evolving

Technology will drive business growth

Four key technologies – high-speed mobile internet, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and cloud technology – will take on new meaning over the next few years and help to boost the performance of companies. Socio-economic trends such as national economic growth and the expansion of education (particularly in developing economies) will create new opportunities for businesses. The current move towards a greener economy will also mean advances in green technologies.

Business will adopt more technology more quickly

Over 80% of companies are likely to embrace user and big data analytics by 2022. The same is true of new technologies, and some of the big future trends include greater investment in machine learning, augmented reality and virtual reality.

Automation will take some jobs away, but also create new ones

The rise of automation will continue in the coming years, with nearly 50% of companies expecting automation to lead to a reduction in their full-time workforce. However, almost 40% expect to increase their workforce through new roles that boost productivity and more than a quarter expect automation to lead to the creation of completely new types of jobs within their companies.

Humans and machines will share the workload

As technology becomes more sophisticated, the use of different types of machines within the workplace will only increase. By 2022, the balance between working hours performed by humans and working hours performed by machines will shift from 71% and 29%, respectively, to 58% and 42%. Areas where machines are expected to become more active include reasoning, decision-making and administrative work.

New roles will be in demand

Unsurprising, roles such as data analysts, software developers, application developers, ecommerce specialists and social media specialists are all predicted to experience increasing demand in the next few years. However, roles that rely on more traditional soft skills (e.g. communication and negotiation) will also be in demand, including customer service workers, sales and marketing professionals, and training and development specialists.

In addition, there will be a number of new specialist roles created in response to technological advances such as artificial intelligence and machine learning specialists, robotics engineers and information security analysts. The developing green industry and the healthcare sector are also expected to lead to a variety of newly created jobs and are seeing an increased need for labour.

New skills needed

Filling all of these new job roles will require new skills. While the next generation of workers may have the opportunity to learn such skills during their time in education, the re-skilling (retrain workers in skills needed by modern business) and upskilling (teach someone additional skills) of existing employees will also be required. In fact, by 2022, it’s predicted that 54% of all employees will require significant re-skilling or upskilling. While some of these skills will be specific to certain technologies, there will also be an increasing need for ‘human’ skills such as creativity, originality, persuasion and negotiation.

We hope this article has provided an insight into the future of the world of work. While it’s undeniable that technology and machines will shape our future, there’s clearly still a place for more traditional ‘human’ skills as we move further into the 21st century, which creates a wealth of opportunity for employees and businesses alike.


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