World Economy

WEF: Automation to Cost 5.1m Jobs

WEF: Automation to Cost 5.1m JobsWEF: Automation to Cost 5.1m Jobs

Labor market changes brought on by increasing automation will lead to a net loss of about 5.1 million jobs over the next five years in 15 major countries, according to projections published by the World Economic Forum on Monday.

The forecast, released to coincide with the WEF’s annual meeting in Davos this week, predicts that technical changes such as robatics and artificial intelligence will contribute to the loss of 7.1 million jobs, offset by the creation of two million new roles, TechWeekEurope reported.

The figures appear in a report titled “The Future of Jobs”, which centers on the impact of what the WEF calls the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”–including developments across artificial intelligence, machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and genetics and biotechnology.

The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is also the overall theme of this year’s meeting.

The report covers 15 countries that make up about 65% of the world’s workforce. Its findings correspond to projections by the UN’s International Labor Organization of an increase in global unemployment of 11 million by 2020.

Two-thirds of the WEF’s projected job losses are expected to occur in the office and administrative sectors, due to increased automation.

Analyzed by industry, the report foresees the most job losses in healthcare, due to the rise of telemedicine, followed by the energy and financial services industries.

 Gender Gap

New technologies will also create demand for certain skills, including data analysts and specialist sales representatives, the WEF found.

Women are to feel the job losses more than men, as they are more often employed in low-growth of declining areas carrying out sales, office and administrative tasks, the WEF said. The report projected women would see five jobs lost for each job created, while men would see three lost for each new job.

Similarly, findings released by Infosys at the forum found that 40% of 16 to 25-year-olds across developed and emerging countries believe automation will eliminate their current job within the next decade. In the UK, the figure rises to 45%, Infosys said.

The “Amplifying Human Potential: Education and Skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution” study, based on a survey of 8,700 young people in nine emerging and developed countries, found that 62% of British respondents were willing to learn software development in order to adapt to the changes, but this figure lagged behind those in the US and four major emerging countries.

Only about half of those polled in the UK said they felt the education they had received was helpful for their current job, while 77% said they had to learn new skills not taught at school or university in order to carry out their current role.