The world is on the brink of a new era of disruption. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown everything into disarray, and the ongoing war in Ukraine has shattered the foundations of globalization. Now, brace yourselves for the next wave of upheaval that will hit our jobs. This is not a drill – listen carefully. According to the World Economic Forum, a staggering 14 million jobs could be eliminated within the next five years.
14 million. That’s the prediction of the World Economic Forum. They’ve published a survey just ahead of the International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day. It’s today,in May.
As we speak, workers across the globe are taking to the streets in protest. In France alone, massive demonstrations have erupted, with one million workers joining the cause. Many of them are voicing their opposition to President Macron’s new pension policy, a topic we have been discussing extensively on our show. However, what about the rest? What are they protesting?
Around the world, both women and men are marching on Labor Day, demanding better wages, improved living standards, and enhanced working conditions. However, the job market is undergoing a profound transformation – a period of disruption that we have been warned about.
The question is, are we prepared for what lies ahead? Are we ready for the loss of another 14 million jobs in just five years? The aforementioned report, which surveyed over 800 companies globally, reveals the following:
By 2027, employers will create a total of 69 million jobs. It sounds promising, right? Well, here’s the catch – they will also eliminate a staggering 83 million jobs. The difference between these figures is precisely 14 million, the number of jobs that will vanish. In essence, employers will cut more jobs than they create.
What is driving this drastic change? Technology. Artificial intelligence is set to revolutionize the workplace as we know it. While it will undoubtedly create job opportunities for those capable of developing and managing AI tools, it will also render certain positions obsolete, particularly those related to record keeping. Shockingly, the World Economic Forum predicts that 26 million record keeping jobs could disappear by 2027. Technology is a force of disruption, whether we embrace it or not.
But technology won’t be the sole disruptor. The job market will also face challenges due to slower economic growth, increased inflation, and the looming risk of a redundant workforce. Globally, six out of ten workers will require training, and a staggering 44% of workers’ skills need updating. Surprisingly, many individuals are eager to upgrade their skills, but they lack sufficient opportunities. Only half of the employees surveyed believe they have adequate access to such opportunities.
This global shift is not exclusive to any one country, including India. The World Economic Forum report predicts that India’s job market will also experience significant upheaval. Emerging sectors like AI and machine learning will create new employment opportunities. The writing is on the wall – change is coming. The real question is, are we prepared?
Sadly, the short answer is no. Labor unrest is surging worldwide. Dock workers, rail workers, public servants, and port workers are all staging protests. Let’s look at some data: In 2021, there were just eight reported cases of protests and strikes at the world’s leading ports. However, that number skyrocketed last year, reaching 38 cases – an increase of almost 400%. Why are so many workers angry? The growing inflation has deeply impacted them, with stagnant wages persisting for decades. They demand a raise, echoing historical patterns. In the 1800s, workers across Germany, France, England, and the US rallied for a simple demand – reduced work hours.
History has shown that labor movements and protests have played a crucial role in shaping the rights and conditions of workers. The struggles of the past, such as the demand for an eight-hour workday in the late 1800s, led to significant labor reforms that improved the lives of workers. However, the job landscape today is vastly different from that era, with the advent of technology and the rapid pace of innovation.
The disruption caused by technology, particularly artificial intelligence, will undoubtedly have both positive and negative consequences for the job market. While it will create new opportunities in emerging sectors like AI and machine learning, it will also eliminate certain roles that can be automated or streamlined. This technological shift is inevitable and requires us to adapt and innovate to stay ahead.
However, technology is not the only disruptor. Slower economic growth, higher inflation, and the need for upskilling pose additional challenges. The workforce of the future will require constant updating of skills to remain relevant and competitive in the changing job market. Providing ample opportunities for training and upskilling is crucial for empowering workers and ensuring a smooth transition.
In the face of the looming disruption in the job market, it is evident that we are not fully prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. The predictions of job losses and the need for reskilling underscore the urgency for policymakers, employers, and individuals to take proactive measures. Creating an environment that fosters innovation, invests in education and training, and ensures inclusive growth will be key to navigating this period of disruption successfully.
While the road ahead may be uncertain, history has shown that resilience, adaptability, and collective action can bring about positive change. By embracing innovation, preparing for the future, and prioritizing the well-being and rights of workers, we can steer through this period of disruption and emerge stronger, with a workforce that is equipped to thrive in the evolving job landscape.