Nearly a quarter of all jobs are expected to change in the next five years, with the green transition and adoption of technologies leading to rapid transformations, according to a new World Economic Forum report.
The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report 2023, based on a survey of 803 companies employing more than 11.3 million people across 27 industries in 45 economies, found that an estimated 69 million jobs will be created by 2027, while 83 million will be eliminated.
This equates to a net decrease of 14 million jobs, or 2 per cent of current employment. While the adoption of technology, increased digital access and the green transition have created new jobs – losses, slower economic growth, supply shortages and inflation pose the greatest risks to job creation, the report found.
“For people around the world, the past three years have been filled with upheaval and uncertainty for their lives and livelihood, with COVID-19, geopolitical and economic shifts, and the rapid advancement of AI and other technologies now risks adding more uncertainty,” World Economic Forum director Saadia Zahidi said.
The report refers to labour market churn, which is the pace of reallocation of workers and jobs around the world. It is calculated by dividing the number of expected new jobs and the number of roles expected to be displaced, by the size of the labour force.
It found a mean structural labour market churn of 23 per cent, meaning the total expected job movement – the new roles being created and existing ones being destroyed – represents nearly a quarter of the total workforce.
“In 2023, labour market transformations driven by technological breakthroughs, such as the coming of age of generative artificial intelligence, are being compounded by economic and geopolitical disruptions and growing social and environmental pressures,” Zahidi said.
The fastest growing jobs in the next five years will be artificial intelligence and machine learning specialists, and information security specialists, according to the report which found these positions are expected to grow by 30 per cent by 2027.
The training of workers to utilise artificial intelligence and big data will be prioritised by more than 40 per cent of the companies surveyed.
Technology is leading to job losses in clerical and secretarial roles, and reskilling will become crucial in the coming years, the report found, with the skills gap and inability to attract talent listed as the biggest barriers to transformation.
Nearly 45 per cent of a worker’s skills will need to be updated in the coming five years, with six in 10 workers requiring training in this time, the World Economic Forum found.
“The good news is that there is a clear way forward to ensure resilience,” Zahidi said.
“Governments and businesses must invest in supporting the shift to the jobs of the future through education, reskilling and social support structures that can ensure individuals are at the heart of the future of work.”
A key area where reskilling is needed is in the green transition and green technologies, but LinkedIn data found this is not yet happening on a big enough scale.
“The sustained growth of green jobs is really great news, particularly for job seekers who are facing upheaval in the labour market,” LinkedIn head of global public policy Sue Duke said.
“But LinkedIn’s data is clear that while there’s strong demand for talent with green skills, people are not developing green skills at anywhere near a fast enough rate to meet climate targets. Governments must champion the green skills agenda and businesses can and must do more to equip their employees with the skills needed to deliver genuine environmental change.”
But previous research has found that workers might be too busy to do this training, with half of the respondents to a survey saying they don’t have time to develop new skills, and a third saying they don’t have the budget to do so.