The future of jobs in 2023 and beyond

Mark Talmage-Rostron
05.16.2023 · 7 min read

The job market is under immense flux and change now. With the introduction of AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), amongst other industry game changing technology, workers are being forced to upskill and reskill, or consider a career change. The Future of Jobs Report 2023, designed to explore how jobs and skills will evolve over the next five years, demonstrates how jobs and skills will evolve over the next five years. This fourth edition provides new insights on how socio-economic and technological trends will shape the workplace of the future.

Like previous editions, The Future of Jobs Report 2023 offers insights into these transformations and unpacks how businesses are expecting to navigate these labor-market changes from 2023 to 2027, leveraging a unique cross-sectoral and global survey of Chief Human Resources, Chief Learning Officers and Chief Executive Officers of leading global employers and their peers.

Nobody has a crystal ball, and few companies or industries can with 100% certainty predict exactly what the job market will look like in the long term. That said, using data, the introduction of work ready AI tools, the move towards greener companies, and technology trends over the last year or so, experts are feeling that their chances of creating a map for the way forward is getting more precise.

Time to move with the times!

The Future of Jobs Report 2023 has outlined that if people continue to be dinosaurs in the job market they will, like the prehistoric creatures, become extinct. Employers estimate that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years.

Technology literacy is the third-fastest growing core skill. Self-efficacy skills rank above working with others, in the rate of increase in importance of skills reported by businesses. Systems thinking, AI and big data, talent management, and service orientation and customer service complete the top 10 growing skills.

It comes as no surprise that the fastest-growing roles relative to their size today are driven by technology, digitalization, and sustainability. Most of the fastest growing roles are technology-related roles. AI and Machine Learning Specialists top the list of fast-growing jobs, followed by Sustainability Specialists, Business Intelligence Analysts, and Information Security Analysts. Renewable Energy Engineers, and Solar Energy Installation and System Engineers are relatively fast-growing roles, as economies shift towards renewable energy.

With the rise of AI and automation, it comes as no surprise that those who are still in manually repetitive data entry jobs will soon be on the endangered species list. The majority of fastest declining roles are clerical or secretarial roles, with Bank Tellers and Related Clerks, Postal Service Clerks, Cashiers and Ticket Clerks, and Data Entry Clerks expected to decline fastest.

The impact of most technologies is expected to be a net positive over the next five years

Big data analytics, climate change and environmental management technologies, and encryption and cybersecurity are expected to be the biggest drivers of job growth. Agriculture technologies, digital platforms and apps, e-commerce and digital trade, and AI are all expected to result in significant labor-market disruption, with substantial proportions of companies forecasting job displacement in their organizations, offset by job growth elsewhere to result in a net positive.

Within technology adoption, big data, cloud computing and AI feature highly on likelihood of adoption. More than 75% of companies are looking to adopt these technologies in the next five years. The data also shows the impact of the digitalization of commerce and trade. Digital platforms and apps are the technologies most likely to be adopted by the organizations surveyed, with 86% of companies expecting to incorporate them into their operations in the next five years. E-commerce and digital trade are expected to be adopted by 75% of businesses. The second-ranked technology encompasses education and workforce technologies, with 81% of companies looking to adopt these technologies by 2027. The adoption of robots, power storage technology and distributed ledger technologies rank lower on the list.

Businesses are introducing automation into their operations

Organizations today estimate that 34% of all business-related tasks are performed by machines, with the remaining 66% performed by humans. In the future, the expectation is that 42% of business tasks will be automated by 2027. Task automation in 2027 is expected to vary from 35% of reasoning and decision-making to 65% of information and data processing.

Artificial intelligence, a key driver of potential algorithmic displacement, is expected to be adopted by nearly 75% of surveyed companies and is expected to lead to high churn – with 50% of organizations expecting it to create job growth and 25% expecting it to create job losses.

Six in 10 workers will require training before 2027

That is the business goal for most global companies, the problem is only half of workers are seen to have access to adequate training opportunities today.

The highest priority for skills training from 2023-2027 is analytical thinking, which is set to account for 10% of training initiatives, on average. The second priority for workforce development is to promote creative thinking, which will be the subject of 8% of upskilling initiatives. Training workers to utilize AI and big data ranks third among company skills-training priorities in the next five years and will be prioritized by 42% of surveyed companies. Employers also plan to focus on developing worker’s skills in leadership and social influence (40% of companies); resilience, flexibility, and agility (32%); and curiosity and lifelong learning (30%). Two-thirds of companies expect to see a return on investment on skills training within a year of the investment, whether in the form of enhanced cross-role mobility, increased worker satisfaction or enhanced worker productivity.

The necessity for companies to continue to upskill employees to remain in business and retain staff to help them do so, is becoming even more mission critical than ever before. The problem is that training budgets are being cut by many companies around the world as they see the cost of training rocket by universities and colleges keen to cash in on the growing trend for companies to continue to upskill and reskill employees.

Online education is continuing to be a game changer

Many companies are now recognizing that step change and are thus investing in online learning to continue to train staff without breaking the bank. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the eLearning industry has seen exponential growth, with demand increasing by up to 400%. These factors have changed how we learn due to the ongoing change in technology. According to a recent study, online learning can save businesses up to 66% on training costs and deliver an incredible return on investment.

45% of businesses see funding for skills training as an effective intervention available to governments seeking to connect talent to employment. Funding for skills training ranks ahead of flexibility on hiring and firing practices (33%), tax and other incentives for companies to improve wages (33%), improvements to school systems (31%) and changes to immigration laws on foreign talent (28%).

Workers across age ranges indicate dissatisfaction about training opportunities. Manpower data shows that 57% of surveyed employees are pursuing training outside of work, because company training programs do not teach them relevant skills, advance their career development, or help them stay competitive in the labor market. Respondents to Adecco’s survey criticize companies for focusing their efforts too much on managers’ development, skills, and rewards. Only 36% of non-managers who responded to Adecco’s survey said that their company is investing effectively in developing their skills, compared to 64% of managers.

Workers across age ranges indicate dissatisfaction about training opportunities. Manpower data shows that 57% of surveyed employees are pursuing training outside of work, because company training programs do not teach them relevant skills, advance their career development, or help them stay competitive in the labor market. Respondents to Adecco’s survey criticize companies for focusing their efforts too much on managers’ development, skills, and rewards. Only 36% of non-managers who responded to Adecco’s survey said that their company is investing effectively in developing their skills, compared to 64% of managers.

Conclusion

The transformations that labor markets are experiencing have also increased the need for swifter and more efficient job reallocation mechanisms within and across different firms and sectors. The coming years represent a generational opportunity for businesses and policymakers to embrace a future of work which fosters economic inclusion and opportunity, sets in place policies which will influence not only the rate of growth but its direction, and contribute to shaping more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economies and societies.

The transformation of jobs and skills have significant impacts on businesses, governments, and workers worldwide. It is crucial to develop insight forecasts, identify the appropriate talent to promote growth, and make informed decisions on managing the significant disruptions to jobs and skills for employers and workers alike.

About the author
Mark Talmage-Rostron
Mark Talmage-Rostron

Mark is a college graduate with Honours in Copywriting. He is the Content Marketing Manager at Nexford, creating engaging, thought-provoking, and action-oriented content.

Join our newsletter and be the first to receive news about our programs, events and articles.