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85 million jobs to be displaced, as machines and AI to play a crucial role in the business sector

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Millions of people have found their jobs on the line as a result of recent global events. But can South Africa and other countries see further job losses in the foreseeable future? Job losses which have nothing to do with a viral disease.

According to a report by World Economic Forum (WEF), an estimate 85 million jobs will be displaced by 2025, due to a shift in the division of labour between machines and humans.

Additionally, the Future of Jobs Report 2020 explained that as harsh as this might sound, it is expected that 97 million new roles may emerge as result thereof. Jobs which are more adapted to the new division of machines, algorithms, and humans.

The report states, “Although the number of jobs destroyed will be surpassed by the number of ‘jobs of tomorrow’ created, in contrast to previous years, job creation is slowing while job destruction accelerates.”

For millions of people, this is a frightening thought. 

Among the key findings, the report shows that the pace of technology adoption is expected to remain unabated and may accelerate in some areas. This can be seen in the adoption of cloud computing, big data and e-commerce remaining high priorities for business leaders. However, there has also been a noticeable rise in interest for encryption, non-humanoid robots and artificial intelligence.

Furthermore, automation, in tandem with the COVID-19 recession, is creating a troubling setting for workers.

This is because, alongside the current disturbance from the lockdowns and economic contraction, technological adoption by companies will now be transforming tasks, jobs and skills by 2025.

The report indicates that 43% of businesses surveyed indicate they are prepared to minimise their workforce due to technology integration. A further 41% plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialised work, while another 34% plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration.

By 2025, the time spent on current tasks at work by both humans and machines will apparently be equal.

The report further notes employers expect increasingly redundant roles will decline from 15.4% of the workforce to 9% (6.4% decline) by 2025. Also, emerging professions are expected to grow from 7.8% to 13.5% (5.7% growth) of the total employee base of company respondents.

With technology continually evolving and the business sector changing alongside it, the time has now come for employers and employees to develop the necessary skills to keep astride with the latest advancements.

As machines and algorithms are set to become major key players in the business world, what are your thoughts? Do you feel technology will assist in enhancing the business sector? Especially in times of crisis, such as the current pandemic?

Share your views with us in the comment section below.

Author: Quinton Boucher

Edited: Calvin Swemmer

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