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We may lose over 5 million jobs to robots by 2020

By Chester Labaco & Liu Hongzuo - on 20 Jan 2016, 8:37am

We may lose over 5 million jobs to robots by 2020

 Artist impression. Source: marketeyewitness.com

The World Economic Forum (WEF) did a research about our job security, and the outlook is not as pleasing as we’d like it to be.

If you’re white or blue-collared, working in a role related to technology, energy, finance, media, service, administrative, sales, or management, you will be affected. A total of five million jobs in the world will see replacement by automation, with administrative and office jobs at the highest risk of taking a hit. Here is the severity of the upcoming change, quoted from the World Economic Forum research paper:

“According to these calculations, current trends could lead to a net employment impact of more than 5.1 million jobs lost to disruptive labor market changes over the period 2015–2020, with a total loss of 7.1 million jobs—two thirds of which are concentrated in the Office and Administrative job family—and a total gain of 2 million jobs, in several smaller job families.”

The timeframe for the job loss to impact our economy. Source: WEF.

Besides automation, the two biggest reasons for the changing job climate is the nature of work itself and the push from mobile Internet and cloud technology.

The research paper also recommends certain actions to be taken for both short term and long term resilience to how technology will affect our livelihood. Suggestions for companies include better and more relevant talent management (such as re-skilling and retraining workers where necessary), making use of data analytics to forecast change, as well as making full use of flexible working arrangements and online talent platforms to become more agile at managing the workforce. Besides a resilient workforce, the suggestions are also tailored to avoid employee redundancy.

The ASEAN profiling and results of the survey. Source: WEF.

The results come from respondents spread across nine broad industry sectors, with a total of 371 individual companies from these industries and regions taking part in the survey. The 15 economies covered by the data account for about 1.86 billion workers, approximately 65% of the world’s total workforce, and the countries involved in the research include ASEAN (the combined results of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore), Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Interested to find out if your industry is affected? You can read the paper, The Future of Jobs, in its entirety here.

Source: Engadget, World Economic Forum