Some statistics, when taken at face value, are enough to scare the bejeezus out of you. And none more so than a new World Economic Forum report that says that advancements in robotics and AI will make 75 million jobs obsolete by the year 2022.
So, a mere four years from now, the job market will be essentially cratered by technology? Well, not exactly.
The report stresses that, while those 75 million human jobs are rendered useless, another 133 million jobs will be created as a result of these technological advancements. The resulting net gain is 58 million jobs, but that might not tell the whole story. According to the report, some 54 percent of the existing workforce will require “significant” training in order to update skills or acquire completely new ones.
So what will these changes look like? It appears that while certain traditional roles in manufacturing may decline, there are tech-oriented ones moving into the vacant space, including in areas like data analysis, new technology implementation, IT, and more.
That shift may feel intimidating when you consider the training requirements of six months, at a minimum, for the workers in question. And yet, the study acknowledges that most companies don’t intend to just ditch their current workforce and find a new one – probably because they can’t. Two-thirds of employers said they plan to adapt their existing employees to the new requirements of the work world, and will fill in the gaps with contract or temporary workers as needed.
Whether or not this massive shift truly does come to fruition in such a short time period remains to be seen. The study is based on the investment expectations of business executives, not concrete business decisions, which leaves a lot of guesswork as to the reality of these job estimates. Though one thing is for certain – change is afoot, and workforce development initiatives will become that much more necessary in the years to come.