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12 experts explain why good job creation is needed and what leaders can do about it

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Over the next five years 23% of jobs are expected to change.

Over the next five years 23% of jobs are expected to change. Image: Unsplash.

Steffica Warwick
Specialist, Work, Wages and Job Creation, World Economic Forum

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  • Global trends mark an unprecedented need for good job creation around the world.
  • A Global Future Council on the Future of Job Creation was launched by the World Economic Forum this year to explore avenues for investment in good jobs worldwide.
  • 12 experts from the Council explain why good job creation is so needed in the current global context and what leaders can do about it.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 finds that 23% of jobs are expected to change in the next five years, driven by industry transformation caused by increased adoption of technology, the green transition and macro-economic conditions. At the same time, health, geopolitical and economic crises of the past few years have significantly impacted employment levels around the world, and demographic shifts are likely to drive further changes in the years to come.

In the run up to the Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Meetings in New York this week, 12 experts from the Global Future Council of Job Creation explain why good job creation is necessary in the current global context and one thing leaders can do about it.

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Create a roadmap to navigate digital transformation

Professor Erik Brynjolfsson, Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI and Co-Founder of Workhelix, Inc.

The global economy is in the early stages of a fundamental transformation driven by digital technologies. Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly improving, powered by innovations in generative AI and foundation models. These technologies are suddenly doing many tasks that only humans could do previously and even augmenting our capabilities, making possible new goods and services. The coming decade will see benefits for healthcare, the environment, consumer goods, energy, and many other sectors.

But we will also face new challenges as the set of tasks and skills demanded shifts rapidly, disrupting the labour force and overturning much the existing economic order. Senior executives and policy-makers need a roadmap based on tangible, actionable research. With the right choices, we can have not only greater prosperity but also widely shared well-being.

Provide education and training for all ages

Professor Janice Eberly, Senior Associate Dean for Strategy and Academics, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Good jobs help people to build themselves up, with stronger skills, higher and more stable incomes, and a sense of accomplishment and promise. They are fundamental to the growth of economies in the short run and across generations, where growing “human capital” stands alongside technology and investment in raising standards of living. This imperative is both public and personal, as access to education, and skills developed in training and on the job, have both personal benefits and spillovers to communities and society.

Access to education for the very young has demonstrated benefits and should be a priority for the long run. But we also have older students and a workforce now in need of on-going education, training, and life-long skills. Invest for all ages.


Support, finance and train entrepreneurs

Mohamed Amine Belhaj Soulami, Chief of Staff, Ministry of Industry and Trade of Morocco

In the global context of persistent inflation and moderate growth perspectives, providing job opportunities is a key challenge in order to support purchasing power and economic activities.

In Morocco, where almost one-third of the population is aged between 15 and 34 years, job creation is one of the main strategic objectives of the New Development Model and the governmental program. Entrepreneurship has been identified as a powerful driver of job creation. In this context, Morocco has launched the FORSA Program to support, finance, and train young entrepreneurs. In 2022, 10,000 young entrepreneurs have been supported by this program.

Develop digital skills to bridge gaps

Dr Jian Han, Professor of Management; Co-Director, Centre on Digital Economy and Smart Enterprise and Centre on China Innovation, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

Job creation is pivotal for economic resilience and social stability. Both the pandemic and technological automation have contributed to job losses. With technology's propensity to replace traditional jobs, the emphasis on job creation in new sectors is crucial to ensure economic recovery, social stability, and resilience against long-term socio-economic consequences.

In addition, job creation should emphasize equipping the workforce with relevant skills, bridging potential skill gaps. There is a risk that benefits from technological advancements may be limited to a tech-savvy minority. Prioritizing job creation in the digital realm can reduce income disparities and ensure wider societal participation.

Unlock the potential of small businesses

Juan Carlos Thomas Soto, Vice President Entrepreneurship & New Ventures, Technoserve

The world faces an urgent question: how will we create the 600 million new jobs needed for young people entering the workforce between now and 2030? Adding to the challenge, most of these jobs will need to be created in emerging economies of the Global South, where the economic context is currently difficult.

The answer lies in small business. Even amid challenging conditions and with little support, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises already account for 70% of formal jobs in these economies. Making sure that entrepreneurs have access to information, finance and markets at scale will help the sector further recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, grow, and become engines for job creation.

Usher in new era of high-quality work

Lisa Sachs, Adjunct Associate Professor of International and Public Affairs; Director, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, University of Columbia

Labour markets will change markedly in the coming years, because of the digital revolution, the green energy transformation, and ageing the population, pushing towards an expanded care economy. From a policy point of view, the challenge will be to foster job conditions that deliver worker satisfaction; a reasonable distribution of market income; social protection at a time of major economic disruption; and the opportunity for workers to develop new skills as technology continues to evolve.

Fostering good jobs will require considerable forethought and social partnerships. If left to market forces alone, the job market is likely to create greater inequalities of income and major worker distress, with much of the workforce left behind. If managed properly with a mix of market forces, worker representation, and public regulation, the future job market could usher in a new era of high-quality work, with high worker security, extensive job training, and a good work-life balance.

Introduce regulatory reform

Miriam Chaum, Head of Work, Economic Policy and Advanced Technologies, Uber Technologies

In the context of digital transformation, the green transition, changing worker preferences, and slowing economic growth, increasing the availability of good work has the potential to drive economic growth, innovation, and competitiveness; alleviate poverty and inequality; contribute to workers’ social cohesion and belonging; improve workers’ health and well-being; and develop workers’ skills and resilience.

In this current global context, policy-makers should consider low- or negative-cost investments that avoid displacing private sector investment and may deliver longer-term returns to economic resilience, including regulatory reform that reduces the burden and barriers to entry for small- and medium-sized enterprises and protects and enables non-traditional work arrangements.

Provide valuable skills training to workers

Nela Richardson, PhD, Chief Economist and Head of ADP Research Institute, Automatic Data Processing (ADP)

The world of work is on the precipice of a technology-driven productivity boom. Leaders in business and policy are being pushed to respond to high-speed innovation and the impending transformation of the global workforce. The direction they choose can lead either to job displacement, or – the better choice – the creation of good jobs that improve standards of living.

In this moment, the most important move we can make is to train workers in valuable skills. Only through workforce development can the global economy meet both the needs of the present and the change that’s coming. Economies grow over the long run when there are more workers, and when those workers become more productive. Good jobs provide the skills training and opportunity for advancement necessary to achieving those ends and deliver a robust and vibrant global economy.


Build a stronger African digital ecosystem

Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Motsepe Foundation

Good job creation is an essential to sustainable, inclusive democracies. We cannot realize the promise of democracy if we do not ensure that most citizens who want to work are able to work. Africa’s youthful population is tech-savvy, informed, dynamic and creative; we must create more opportunities for them. Building a stronger African digital ecosystem is an important jobs driver. It can transform education, health, governance, and the ability of local entrepreneurs to link with investors, market themselves, and sell through global platforms. Leaders need to prioritise building digital skills, installing quality digital infrastructure, getting pricing and policy correct in different contexts, and ensuring that Africa’s women and girls are fully included. Getting this right cannot be left to one stakeholder but requires effective partnership between public and private sector.

Develop a comprehensive employment policy framework

Sangheon Lee, Director, Employment Policy Department, International Labour Organization (ILO)

If we want inclusive, resilient and fair societies, we need to create decent jobs for all. A decent job ensures that you can work and live in dignity, that you make enough money to not live in poverty, that you have rights at work and that you have a voice at work. These are the preconditions for societies to profit from the full potential of each individual and to ensure that no one be left behind. To get there, a whole-of-society approach based on strong social dialogue would be needed to develop a comprehensive employment policy framework that not only ensures that enough jobs are created but that these jobs are decent. Such an inclusive and comprehensive framework needs to see each and every policy area through a decent employment lens. And we should never assume that measures taken will automatically trickle down to those most in need, but that we need to make sure that this happens through target interventions.

Invest in healthcare employment

Dr Svenja Gudell, Chief Economist, Indeed

The most dynamic economies excel at matching labour supply with labour demand. But this match is less than optimal in healthcare. Populations are ageing, which means the workforce is ageing, creating a growing demand for healthcare workers worldwide. In the US alone, as of mid-August, open job postings on Indeed were up roughly 25% from pre-pandemic levels, while open job postings for nursing roles in particular were up more than 50%.

Current demand is only expected to grow – healthcare employment looks to be a major source of job gains in the US for the foreseeable future. But the match doesn't happen overnight, and our research shows that care roles take a longer time to fill than roles in other sectors – despite high interest in these roles from workers in other fields.

There is a real need for skilled healthcare workers, and those skills are likely to be among the least impacted by the coming automation boom. Laying the groundwork today to ensure the workforce has the skills needed to keep us healthy tomorrow should be top-of-mind for policy-makers the world over.

Prioritise social partnerships and public investment

Veronica Nilsson, General Secretary, Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) to the OECD

The creation of good quality jobs is vital for sustaining democracy and boosting inclusiveness while ensuring the transition to a carbon-neutral and digital economy.

The most important drivers of quality jobs are social partnerships and investment. Social partnerships are where governments actively support and enable constructive dialogue with, and between, employers and trade unions, including collective bargaining at national, sectoral, company and workplace levels. At the same time, the role of investment cannot be understated – the need for more public investment in education, health, social protection and infrastructure funded through fair and adequate taxation is crucial.

This article was written in collaboration with the Global Future Council on the Future of Job Creation.

Related topics:
Forum InstitutionalJobs and the Future of Work
Create a roadmap to navigate digital transformation Provide education and training for all agesSupport, finance and train entrepreneursDevelop digital skills to bridge gapsUnlock the potential of small businessesUsher in new era of high-quality workIntroduce regulatory reformProvide valuable skills training to workersBuild a stronger African digital ecosystemDevelop a comprehensive employment policy frameworkInvest in healthcare employmentPrioritise social partnerships and public investment

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