Jobs and the Future of Work

How to realize the potential of rising digital jobs

Four workers at their laptops at a table in casual attire: Two hundred and eighteen job types are conducive to becoming global digital jobs.

Two hundred and eighteen job types are conducive to becoming global digital jobs. Image: Unsplash/Annie Spratt

Stéphanie Bertrand
Director Workforce and Organization, Capgemini Invent
Audrey Brauchli
Consultant, Capgemini Invent
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  • In total, 218 job types out of 5,400 are conducive to becoming global digital jobs, representing 73 million of the 820 million global workers.
  • By 2030, these jobs are expected to rise to around 92 million, skewed towards higher-paying roles.
  • A new global digital framework could identify barriers, risks, solutions and mitigations to establishing a global digital workforce for companies and countries.

With the expansion of digital access and the normalization of remote work, many jobs, from high-income software developers to lower-income customer service roles, can increasingly be performed online.

This shift gives employers and workers opportunities, particularly for lower-income countries with expanding working-age populations and higher-income countries facing labour shortages. Responsible management of this opportunity could unlock worldwide talent, offering growth opportunities across various income levels.

In collaboration with Capgemini, the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the New Economy and Society published two papers – The Rise of Global Digital Jobs and Realizing the Potential of Global Digital Jobs – that tackle the opportunities and risks presented by global digital jobs.

Have you read?

The digital labour landscape

A task-based analysis identified 218 jobs that have the potential to be performed remotely and are, therefore, open to becoming global digital jobs. Jobs conducive to becoming global and fully digital now and in 2030 are heavily skewed towards knowledge work rather than roles that require physical engagement.

If managed well, global digital jobs have the potential to drive economic growth, create new opportunities and improve the lives of people around the world. However, realizing this potential will require concerted efforts from all stakeholders to address the risks, challenges and barriers involved in this process.

Learning from best practice

The Global Digital Jobs Framework represents efforts to access these opportunities, which highlights the challenges to global digital jobs, transforming that potential into a reality. By providing illustrations of countries, companies and individuals engaging in global digital work, the research demonstrates how this is already a reality for many.

A literature review and country and company case studies have identified three barriers and matching solutions. Those encompass technological infrastructure, where investments and partnerships can bolster connectivity, simplify policies driven by collaboration and the assistance of employers of record and streamline regulatory compliance.

Lastly, workforce readiness hinges on investment in hard and soft skills and accessible, quality education.

Pre-empting risks

Once barriers are overcome, risks such as technology malfunctions, cybersecurity, and danger to the quality of work conditions and challenged performance management systems remain. It is recommended that stakeholders take preemptive measures to mitigate such risks.

Investing in high-quality technology and providing comprehensive cybersecurity awareness training are essential defences against cybersecurity risks. Mitigating isolation and wage unfairness requires career support programmes, community engagement efforts and standardizing wage practices to enhance work conditions.

Managing performance online

Lastly, improving performance management in global digital work environments necessitates prioritizing cultural inclusion, implementing targeted check-in tools and fostering regional connection activities.

The framework is adaptable but not universally applicable.

Its effectiveness hinges on organizations’ and individuals’ technological maturity, digital literacy and skill alignment. The second white paper, Realizing the Potential of Global Digital Jobs, provides a deep dive into the solutions and mitigation actions.

A joint approach

Addressing these challenges necessitates collaboration among countries, businesses and individuals. The Forum has established collaborative networks e.g.:

  • Country accelerators for nations.
  • Chief human resources officers community for companies.
  • Job consortium and the Good Work Alliance for countries and companies.

They aim to support the adoption of these new work models, aiming for global prosperity. Those interested in promoting, implementing or accelerating policies for a global digital workforce are encouraged to participate in these discussions.

Amidst ongoing disruptions in labour markets and technological advancements, global leaders have an opportunity to leverage global digital jobs to tackle issues such as skill shortages and excess labour worldwide. By embracing the framework outlined in this paper, they can ensure that global digital jobs contribute to prosperity for all.

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