Megatrends that shape the future of jobs
It seems already obvious that the future of jobs will be determined by the success of reskilling and upskilling efforts globally. But when we think about factors that influence reskilling, our ability to understand and work with technologies usually comes up first. While it is indeed a major factor, there is more to that.
An important megatrend* affecting the future of jobs is changing landscape of the labor market caused by demographics. It is clear that we are facing today a rapidly aging society. In Europe, 1 in 5 people are older than 65, and this is expected to rise to 1 in 4 in the next decade (Eurostat, 2021). That is mainly caused by longer life expectancy and lower birth rates, meaning that we simply will have fewer people to work with. Luckily, modern technologies are increasingly being able to cover that gap. For younger generations, though, this might just increase the need for developing and sustaining digital skills all across.
Quite expectedly, digitalization has also fueled globalization - it has created the world more interconnected than ever before. Due to increased mobility of goods, services, capital, and labor, this trend has presented a wealth of opportunities. Looking from the jobs perspective - it is becoming significantly easier to obtain a workforce from anywhere in the world. But the downside is that many seek cheaper labor or production abroad widening the gap between the rich and the poor. And there is still a question in place of whether the job market will be capable of keeping up with the migration that results from the increased mobility.
Of course, we have to look at digitalization itself. Technologies are continuously being implemented to make our work more fluid and effective. That also includes many automatization tools that seemingly are and will be taking over people's jobs. But this should not raise panic. WEF has concluded that even though in the nearest future 85 million jobs might be lost due to technologies advancing, 95 million new ones will be created instead. And most likely a great portion of them will be related to managing the technologies that have replaced us. To be able to manage these technologies, our technical skills have to be up to date. Interestingly, this does not only mean being able to work with digital technologies per se, but rather knowing how to develop and maintain digital skills, understand output produced by technologies, and even grasp ethical considerations of the tech you are interacting with.
Depending on where and how you look, more megatrends can be acknowledged (ex. climate change, urbanization). But from what we know already, it is clear that all of these trends are strongly connected and influence each other. Advancing skills and embracing lifelong learning can help individuals futureproof their jobs and lives. The world is changing and so should we!
*pattern or movement that has a major impact on businesses and society as a whole