According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), about 133m jobs globally could be created with the help of rapid technological advances in the workplace over the next decade, compared with 75m that could be displaced. A major challenge, however, will be training and re-training employees for that new world of work. By 2025, machines will perform 52 per cent of the total task hours. "Without proactive approaches, businesses and workers may lose out on the economic potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution", said Saadia Zahidi, head of the Centre for New Economy and Society at the WEF.
Researchers working on "The Future of Jobs 2018" report surveyed executives from different industries around the world, aiming to get a look at how new technologies, like artificial intelligence, will affect the global labor force. Still, the conventional wisdom among many business executives is that AI will also create new jobs. However, the report found that only one in three respondents planned to reskill at-risk workers.
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Meanwhile, employees should expect "significant shifts" in the quality, location, and format of new roles, meaning that the typical full time, permanent employee will be less dominant.
Globally, nearly half of all companies expect automation to cut their full-time workforce in the next four years; however, new jobs will still lead to a net gain in employment opportunities if sufficient reskilling is done.
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The study aimed to better understand how robot and human workforces will shift in the coming years, as almost 50% of all companies except to see their workforce shrink due to automation. So that doesn't mean companies expect to have fewer jobs.
"People, whether they're workers or consumers, will only accept and tolerate the consequences if technology serves them - and not they it", Reiner Hoffmann told daily Welt in reaction to the WEF report.
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The latest report echoes another analysis from global consulting firm PwC, which predicted that AI, robotics and other "smart automation" technology will create new jobs and result in a long-term net positive for the economy.