The Future of Work

Last January 21, the 50th edition of the World Economic Forum took place in the city of Davos, Switzerland. As every year, leaders of the world’s leading economies met to discuss and propose solutions to the leading global problems.

In recent years, the Forum has included technology as a central piece in the debate. This is no longer surprising as within the framework of the so-called “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” technology plays a growing role in global development. It is also a factor of influence in every one of the factors considered in the discussions around sustainable development.

Work is no exception, thus it has been increasingly included as a key matter of debate the Forum. How will work change over the next few years? How has it changed already because of technology? These are questions of great importance that will have an impact in all sectors of society in the coming years.

Technology and work

The continuous technological development offers countless potential opportunities for labor. Although also, numerous challenges. At present, globalization, demographic changes, and technological advances have already begun to have a significant impact on labor markets. Therefore, it is essential that governments, companies, and society are in tune with these developments to maximize the potential benefits of this transformation.

These are some of the main transformations that the labor market will go through in the following years.

  • Automation

Statistics indicate that in the next five years, more than half of the tasks in workplaces will be performed by machines. Although this figure may vary between countries, it is a reality globally, that many jobs as we know them today will cease to exist.

Artificial Intelligence, machines, and technology, in general, have already begun to perform numerous tasks previously done by humans. And although, for many, this seems to be a significant risk. This is not the first time something like that happens. Let’s think about the Industrial Revolution, for example. Humans have been able to adapt to technology changes and their impact on the labor market through history.

Source: World Economic Forum

  • The development of new skills

Work automation will cause some jobs to cease to exist. However, it will also lead to the creation of new labor sectors. Either around the management of these technologies and to cover nascent industries in which the human component will fail to be replaced by Artificial Intelligence.

Thus, the labor market will undergo many transformations. For example, the manufacturing sector will decrease as the services sector will grow. On the other hand, the demand will increase in jobs related to technology management, such as mathematics, data analysis, and information technology, as well as jobs focused on human skills, such as creativity, persuasion, negotiation, and critical thinking.

Source: Mckinsey Global Institute

  • Decentralized work models

Thanks to the use of technology, many companies, especially in the technology sector, have left behind the central office models, opting for remote equipment. This trend is expected to continue growing, and workspaces will increasingly turn into decentralized models of operation. Companies made up of collaborators based on different continents and working in different time zones will be standard.

Similarly, the rise of startups and self-managed work will continue. On the other hand, governments must adapt their labor and social policies, given the growth of globalized work, to protect these new workers who are outside the traditional labor system.