Future of Work

This UK survey reveals a troubled future for low-skilled workers

black flat screen computer monitors

The report reveals the fastest growing and shrinking industries Image: Unsplash/Hack Capital

Emma Charlton
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Future of Work?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of Work is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of Work

  • A UK report shows the 20 roles likely to be in high demand in the new decade.
  • Routine-based roles will shrink as automation takes hold.
  • Coders and carers among the fastest-growing occupations.
  • Women risk greater net job losses than men.

If you’re in a high-tech or "high-touch" job (think teachers, nurses, carers) you have reasons to be positive about the future of work.

Coders and carers were among the fastest-growing occupations in the period 2011-2019, according to an analysis from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Using data from the UK Labour Force Survey, it looked at net change in total employment over the period, and highlighted 20 areas that expanded.

Have you read?

“It may come as little surprise that programmers and software developers were the fastest-growing occupations,” said Fabian Wallace-Stephens, a researcher at the RSA. “IT directors and business analysts were also in the top 20.”

20 fastest growing occupations (2011-19)
The fastest growing occupations in the UK between 2011 and 2019 Image: RSA

The roles with the quickest expansion saw more than 160,000 new positions created, a 72% increase. More of those high-tech roles are expected to emerge in the 2020s, Wallace-Stephens said, as technology companies look beyond their traditional remits to disrupt other sectors such as healthcare and finance.

Loading...

There will also be an increased need for jobs such as primary and nursery school teachers, care workers, nurses and nursing assistants, fuelled by changing demographics and an ageing population.

Future of jobs

The analysis chimes with the findings of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, which gives grounds for both optimism and caution. It says that the introduction of machines and algorithms in the workplace could create as many as 133 million new roles, while displacing around 75 million between 2018 and 2022.

The Forum’s report predicts demand will increase for data analysts and scientists, software and applications developers, and e-commerce and social media specialists. It also says roles that require “human skills,” such as sales and marketing and customer service, will increase.

Discover

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Both reports also consider what types of job are likely to shrink – and the consequences.

20 fastest shrinking occupations (2011-2019)
The top 20 fastest shrinking occupations between 2011-2019 Image: RSA

Routine-based roles such as data-entry, accounting and payroll clerks, are likely to decline and may ultimately disappear.

Women worse off

There’s a gender element to the findings as well, with many traditional high-street jobs, such as retail-sales assistants, check-out cashiers, bank and post-office clerks and dry cleaners, already at risk and disappearing. Nearly 300,000 high-street jobs have been lost over the past decade, 81% of which were held by women.

In contrast, women make up fewer than 20% of the new tech roles that have been created.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Future of WorkFuture of Work
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

6 work and workplace trends to watch in 2024

Kate Whiting

February 6, 2024

2:22

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum