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News in a Number: Pandemic, Automation Put More Jobs at Risk by 2025

2 min read
Oct 22, 2020

85 million

That's the number of jobs at risk of being automated by 2025.

In a new study released on Wednesday by the World Economic Forum, up to 85 million jobs could be lost due to automation by 2025. While technological changes were already altering the future labor market, this surge has been accelerated by the recession caused by the pandemic. The combination of more work being automated and the current recession has caused a “double disruption scenario for workers,” the report states.

Some of the positions that will become redundant, and are therefore likely to be automated, in the coming five years include bank tellers, bookkeepers, administrative assistants, and payroll clerks. According to the report, people in those, and similar positions may be able to move into a different career. Of course, in that scenario, those workers will require training in order to make a career change.

Many companies have been increasingly offering retraining programs for existing employees. That’s good because the report suggests that 50% of employees who stay in their same role will need to be retrained to be effective in a world that is expected to only become more automated. According to online education provider Coursera, between April and June of this year, employers providing opportunities for online learning went up 5x.

Employers are also expecting their employees to learn new skills on their own. Most of the businesses surveyed, 94%, said they want their workers to pick up new skills while on the job. Just two years ago that number was 65%. That trend may already be taking place. Coursera’s study also showed that there was a 4x increase in the number of people seeking out online learning opportunities on their own.

However, there is a silver lining to this dark cloud. While 85 million people could lose their jobs due to automation, 97 million new roles, or “jobs of the future” are expected to be created, too. Those jobs will be in the green economy, data, artificial intelligence, engineering, cloud computing, marketing, sales, content production, and product development.

WEM’s report said that businesses are now placing a high priority on skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and analysis. And, in a nod to how the pandemic has changed the future of work already, new skills that companies want to see include flexibility, resilience, and a tolerance for stress.