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The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report is a snapshot of the world of work now, and a look into where we are going. The latest edition comes as we are still digesting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and as we all become aware of the massive impact that Artificial Intelligence is likely to have on pretty much every job humans do.
The Forum Managing Director Saadia Zahidi sets out the highlights of the report, and Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of online learning company Coursera talks about the skills we will all need in this rapidly changing world.
More on the Future of Jobs Report: https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-future-of-jobs-report-2023
More on the Growth Summit: https://www.weforum.org/events/the-growth-summit-jobs-and-opportunity-for-all-2023
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Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum: Nearly half of the skills that people like you and I are using every single day in the workplace - nearly half of that is going to have to change in the next 4 to 5 years alone.
Robin Pomeroy, host, Radio Davos: Welcome to Radio Davos, the podcast from the World Economic Forum that looks at the biggest challenges and how we might solve them. This week we dive into the Forum’s Future of Jobs Report - a snapshot of where the work of world is headed -- spoiler alert: there are big changes ahead.
Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO, Coursera: I don't think there's any job that's not going to be impacted by some form of technology in the next 3 to 5 years.
Robin Pomeroy: This year’s Future of Jobs report comes as we are still digesting the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, as we face great economic and geopolitical unncertainty, and as we all become aware of the massive impact that Artificial Intelligence is likely to have on pretty much every job humans do.
Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO: AI is going to be built into every piece of software that you use.
Robin Pomeroy: So if you want to know what jobs are on the rise, stay tuned.
Saadia Zahidi: The highest amount of growth is expected to be in sectors that require green jobs and green skills. But when it comes to the largest absolute gains, the largest numbers of jobs being created, that is really going to be coming from education and from agriculture.
Robin Pomeroy: Subscribe to Radio Davos wherever you get your podcasts, or visit wef.ch/podcasts where you will also find our sister podcasts, Meet the Leader, Agenda Dialogues and the World Economic Forum Book Club Podcast.
I’m Robin Pomeroy at the World Economic Forum, and with this look at the Future of Jobs…
Saadia Zahidi: There's no evidence that people that haven't been to university aren't able to reskill or upskill towards very specific areas that companies need more talent in.
Robin Pomeroy: This is Radio Davos
This week the World Economic Forum is holding a ‘Growth Summit’ at its headquarters in Geneva. Leaders from business, government, civil society, international organizations and academia will gather to discuss how we can pursue 'Jobs and Opportunity for All'.
You can follow the action live or on catchup on our website weforum.org and across social media using the hashtag #GrowthSummit23.
Around the Growth Summit, the Forum is publishing some crucial research, on jobs, skills and the economy, and we will be brining you three special episodes this week looking at those.
On this one, it is the Future of Jobs. Later in the show, I speak to the CEO of online learning company Coursera about the skills we will all need in this rapidly changing world.
But first, my colleague Gayle Markovitz sat down with World Economic Forum Managing Director Saadia Zahidi to get a readout of the Forum’s latest Future of Jobs Report. You can read that online, but before you do, here’s Saadia who started by explaining what the Future of Jobs report is.
Saadia Zahidi: This is the fourth edition of the Future of Jobs report. And what we do is every couple of years extensively survey chief executive officers, chief human resources officers, chief strategy officers, and ask them what they think is currently impacting the world of work. What are the technologies they're likely to adopt? What are the other megatrends that they will be facing? And then what does that mean for specific jobs within their company, within their industry? What does that mean for skills and what does that mean for how they acquire and develop talent? And this is the fourth time that we're doing this, and we're covering about 45 countries this time, 27 different industry clusters. And the overall population of workers that is represented by these employers is about 11.3 million workers. And what it represents globally is nearly 673 million types of jobs that we're able to say something about.
Gayle Markovitz: I mean, we're faced with some fundamental changes to the jobs market, the impact of COVID, the green transition, the rise of AI, macroeconomic uncertainty. How would you characterise this moment in time and what's the expected impact on labour markets?
Saadia Zahidi: So I think you said the word uncertainty. That is really key here,
When it comes to some of those macro trends. There are some very positive ones. So it's clear that the investments in the green transition will be very positive for jobs. It's clear that ESG standards and their widespread application across different companies and industries is again likely to add to a growth and jobs.
These are likely to be positive trends. At the same time, there is a potential risk of a prolonged economic downturn. There continues to be high inflation that impacts input costs, but also impacts the purchasing power of consumers. And so those are likely to be trends that will negatively end up impacting jobs.
And then when it comes to the subject of the day, which is really technological change and how fast companies are adopting technologies, I think that's where the picture is a bit more mixed. For about half of companies, they expect the outlook for jobs to be very positive, but a quarter of companies expect the outlook for jobs to be quite negative.
Now, that's a combination. It really depends very much on very specific technologies, but it's not quite as positive as the green transition and not quite as negative as some of the economic trends we see.
Gayle Markovitz: Speaking about technology automation, it's always been a theme of the future of jobs report. And our listeners would assume that all the rapid advances that we've been hearing so much about in generative AI, only accelerating the automation of tasks in the workplace. Is that reflected in the report? And and what's the expected impact on on jobs and skills?
Saadia Zahidi: We've been looking at both automation and other forms of technological change for some time, and what we've tried to build every year is a sense of where is what we call the human/machine frontier, what types of tasks and skills are getting automated.
And what we find is overall, on average, the respondents to our survey do not find that tasks are more automatable today than they were three years ago, the last time we published this report, there is barely been a one percentage point change.
But when you look specifically at the types of tasks, so it's very clear that the automation of physical and manual work is no more accelerated than it was three years ago. And to some extent that's because it's essentially been occurring already. And so we're pretty much where we were in terms of expectation of further automation.
But when it comes to very human traits like coordinating between people, like helping with decision making and reasoning, or communicating, that's where actually you see an uptick. That's where you see a greater risk of automation or a greater prediction around automation than before.
And that is not surprising because of course we've all seen what is happening with generative AI and how fast that's getting adopted across various industries. And that's exactly where there's some prediction that we're likely to see further disruption.
Gayle Markovitz: Just talking about labour markets generally, there's a lot of talk about tight labour markets in some areas of the world, not tight at all in other parts of the world. Why are there certain sectors also that are struggling to find people to do jobs and at the same time, lots of big companies, lots of tech companies laying people off, lots of redundancies? Why is there so much disconnect?
Saadia Zahidi: What we find overall is that there is a high level of churn when it comes to predictions for the next four years. So 23% of jobs are likely to change. A little more than half of those because they're likely to decline. And just under half of those because they are likely to grow.
So the net effect is actually negative. But overall, we're seeing quite a lot of change when it comes to the future of jobs.
Now, the reasons behind that are over the last three years, we've seen the pandemic greatly disrupt a number of workforces. We've been seeing geopolitical disruptions that have also affected various industries, everything from travel and tourism to food and energy production together.
What that means is that workers are, to some extent, reticent to join the workforce again, those that pulled fully out of the workforce during the pandemic.
And then there are other cases where those industries have changed so much, and the skills demand within those industries are so different that those industries are struggling to find the skill sets that they need.
And then finally, when it comes to you referred to layoffs in certain industries. Those are industries that are now going through, they went through a massive expansion in the midst of the pandemic and are now going through some kind of a readjustment.
But the overall numbers in most advanced markets point to those very tight labour markets.
But I think we can't forget about the number of emerging and developing economies that are also covered by this survey, where there's the opposite concern, where there are still, there still isn't a recovery to pre-pandemic levels of unemployment and which was already fairly high at that period of time, especially for youth.
Gayle Markovitz: And can you tell us a little bit about the the largest gains in jobs? Like, where will we see most growth?
Saadia Zahidi: So there's three core areas which emerge as areas of high job growth, both relative to their current size and also when it comes to absolute changes.
So relative to today, the highest amount of growth is expected to be in sectors that require green jobs and green skills. So everything from, you know, need for a greater number of specialists in sustainability or those that are working on green energy production, renewable energy sources, renewable energy engineers, solar energy installation. These are all areas that are likely to grow and again, very in line with the types of investments we're seeing governments make and the incentives that they're creating for companies to invest in those areas.
But when it comes to the largest absolute gains, the largest numbers of jobs being created, that is really going to be coming from education and from agriculture.
So when it comes to education, there's likely to be about 10% growth in the education industry as a whole, leading to about 3 million additional jobs for vocational education teachers and university and higher education teachers.
When it comes to agricultural professionals, we're expecting that especially agriculture equipment operators, graders and sorters are expected to see a 15 to 30% increase, leading to about an additional 4 million jobs. So that's where the largest numbers of gains and jobs are going to be.
Gayle Markovitz: The forum is publishing another report, which is about skills. It's called Skills First. What does that phrase mean and what is different from what we had in the past and why are skills so important now?
Saadia Zahidi: So we find that when it comes to the skills churn or rather what amount of the current core skills of a worker today, what percentage of that is likely to change in the next four years, that's over 40%. That's nearly half of the skills that people like you and I are using every single day in the workplace. Nearly half of that is going to have to change in the next 4 to 5 years alone.
Now, what that means is we need very rapid reskilling and upskilling possibilities. A lot of workers can be self-motivated and will do that, but in many cases, it's employers themselves that are going to need to provide that reskilling and upskilling. And in yet other cases, it's going to be governments that are going to need to provide a lot more support.
But there's another angle to this, which is employers simply have to think very differently about skills. Instead of relying on very traditional signals of what indicates a skill in a person. Is it really where they got their degree from, what type of degree they had, or which workplace they worked in ten years ago? Or is it actually what they're able to demonstrate in the workplace?
And so if employers take a more skills-first approach when it comes to hiring, retention, promotions, they'll actually be able to assess people on the basis of what they really know and what they're able to do. They're also able to then target much more specifically their reskilling and upskilling programmes.
And then the other big win out of this is that if you pull the skills first agenda forward and move a little bit away from university credentials and other more traditional signals, many more people have an opportunity because it doesn't mean that we're limited to the pool of people that have been to a specific type of degree or accreditation. And there's no evidence that people that haven't been to university aren't able to reskill or upskill towards very specific areas that companies need more talent in.
So it solves a lot of problems at the same time, provides upward social mobility, helps companies find the right talent, and allows governments to focus much more on broad-based prosperity rather than more limited support for specific parts of the workforce.
Gayle Markovitz: Speaking of skills, what are the skills that workers need today and what are the skills that they're going to need in the future?
Saadia Zahidi: So there's a very interesting new list of the top 25 skills that are going to be in high demand. And not surprisingly, cognitive skills come out at the very top. It's clear that there's more of a focus and an interest in having people with analytical thinking skills, people with creativity skills.
But it's also become very important to have leadership skills and to have social influence, essentially, an ability to be able to work with other people and really the traits that make us human, the traits that make us able to relate with each other and to get interesting, new, innovative, creative things done in the workplace.
At the same time, I don't want to downplay how much interest there is from employers on ensuring that among the top skills that employers will try to focus on for their workers, AI and big data and actually being able to use the new technologies that have emerged and being able to use them much better in the workplace, understand them better and essentially improve their productivity and their ability to be much more efficient and much more productive in the workplace.
So again, it's this unique combination of analytical skills and creativity along with leadership and social influence, along with the ability to actually use technology, especially AI and big data.
Gayle Markovitz: And what about diversity, equity and inclusion, DEI as it's called, is is this a priority for business? And if so, what are employers doing about it?
Saadia Zahidi: So I think we see a mixed picture. 70% of the companies that we surveyed have some form of a DEI program. But conversely, that means that nearly a third of these organisations have no DEI program and only a quarter of the organisations are setting DEI goals and targets that exceeds the public requirement within their particular national or regional context.
Women tend to be the main focus group when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion, with about 80% of companies identifying them as the priority for the DEI programmes. About a third of companies are focussed on youth and about half of companies are focussed on disability. There's less focus on other forms of diversity from the various companies that we surveyed.
Now, again, because especially in advanced economies, there are very tight labour markets, there is a very clear business case to be focusing more on diversity, equity and inclusion. If lack of talent and lack of available skill sets is one of the biggest barriers that businesses are facing when it comes to growth and future productivity, then they need to be looking at a much wider set of talent and that requires them to also look at diversity, equity and inclusion.
Robin Pomeroy: Saadia Zahidi was speaking to Gayle Markovitz. You can find the whole Future of Jobs report on our website weforum.org.
If you take away one thing from that report and from discussions about the future of jobs, it might be that all our jobs are changing . As they do, so will the skills we need to do them. To talk about that, I spoke to Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera. And if you don’t know what Coursera is, here’s Jeff to explain.
Jeff Maggioncalda: Well, you know, we are an online learning platform, and it was started by a couple of Stanford professors over ten years ago, back in 2012. We basically have 300 of the top universities and industry players in the world. This is Princeton and Stanford, Microsoft and Google, who all create over 5,000 online courses that people can take. And these courses range from data science to business to the science of well-being, creativity, design thinking.
And it's not just single courses, but there are industry job certificates. We call them professional certificates, and there are also full college degrees, bachelor's degrees and master's degrees that you can earn online from top universities like University of Pennsylvania, Imperial College of London, University of London, and others.
Robin Pomeroy: We'll be talking a bit later on more about that online learning, because there's a part of that is in the report, the Future of Jobs report. But let's talk a little bit more broadly to start with. The report, I guess, shows a huge amount of disruption over the next few years. It forecasts 44% of workers skills will be disrupted during that period. I mean, what's your reaction to that and what do you think people reading that should take away from it?
Jeff Maggioncalda: It might be underestimating the actual impact. I mean, I personally, starting in early December, started using ChatGPT. I saw that the step change from ChatGPT 3.5, which is what they announced and offered in December, and now they're on 4.0. And I'll tell you this, this technology, this generative language technology basically is a chat bot and you can ask it questions and it gives you answers.
And I'm finding the acuity, the coherence, the linguistic fluency of this technology to be absolutely stunning. And I'm an English major. You know, I got an English degree and a quantitative economics degree, and I have an MBA, and I find this technology to be an incredible thought partner that is changing the way I do my job every day. So I don't think there's any job that's not going to be impacted by some form of technology in the next 3 to 5 years.
Robin Pomeroy: It's astonishing, isn't it? You can't think of any job that won't be impacted.
Jeff Maggioncalda: And part of what it is is if you look at the traditional kind of AI, and this is still out there, the things that are automating tasks that have been typically manual sort of repetitive tasks and predictable tasks, those were typically thought to put jobs at risk that are held by lower wage folks who have less formal education. Those are still at risk, by the way, kind of manufacturing automation, robotics, things like that.
But now with this new type of AI, this ChatGPT-style, generative AI, it is automating cognitive tasks. And there was a big report that just came out on March 27th from OpenAI and University of Pennsylvania that showed that those jobs most at risk or exposed to this new technology are jobs held by people with college degrees.
So now we're pretty much all in the same boat here, whether you are a factory worker or on the front lines or whether you're a knowledge worker sitting behind a desk, technology is shifting the way almost every job task will be performed.
I think the ones that are estimated to not have a big impact are like stone workers, slaughterhouses, certain nurses and care aides. I mean, things where you physically have to be touching things in a non repetitive way. But really there's a very, very wide range of jobs that will be redefined by this technology.
Robin Pomeroy: Just on a human level. How does that make you feel?
Jeff Maggioncalda: Nervous. Excited and nervous. I mean, what's kind of interesting, over the course of my life, I'm a bit of a novelty seeker. I like new things. I've always, ever since I was a little kid, I like new things, I like new ideas.
But not everybody does like new ideas and new things. And it it can be really hard to change, especially when there is uncertainty that could have a negative impact on you.
So, you know, in the face of someone saying, Wow, my whole livelihood, suppose you're like me, in your early fifties, you have a family to support. You've been doing a job, you've built up your skills and knowledge to do a job well, and suddenly that job gets redefined. It's not clear what the future of the job is. It's not clear what jobs will be available. But you know that you still have to provide for your for your family. It's pretty stressful. So I think that's going to put, it puts stress on people. It puts stress on organisations.
I mean, it's exciting because we'll have new ways of doing things, but at the same time, you know, just the rate of change and the amount of uncertainty associated with it, it can be stressful.
Robin Pomeroy: Yes, stressful. And I think most people are of only just are only just starting to realise that now. I think probably people sitting where you are in Silicon Valley have known about this for some time. The rest of us, the civilians around the world, are just starting to realise it. And I think with that the opening up of the OpenAI ChaGPT I think it's just shown anyone can see the impact that could have.
But you mentioned there the skills that people have built up over a lifetime. And this goes to the heart of what the Jobs Report talks about. And I notice in there that businesses were asked in the research behind this what are the skills that they most value in their workforce.
And let me read some of the words - we should do a word cloud on this: self-efficacy, resilience, flexibility, agility, motivation, self-awareness and curiosity.
They're very kind of, I don't know if the word nebulous is right, but intangible. You know, these ideas, you know, you've got to be ready to grasp other things, go down other alleys in a way that may be someone like you and I in our early fifties. I hope I am agile enough. Am I? I don't know. But what this report says is everyone needs to be that and companies are looking for that in people. Did that surprise you at all that they weren't saying, I want you to have a degree in coding or I want you to be brilliant at foreign languages. These intangible skills, kind of almost soft skills, does that surprise you?
Jeff Maggioncalda: It does and it doesn't. Because I've seen in the last ten years a huge emphasis on computer science and data science ,kind of hard skills to build, to to design, build and run systems associated with digital transformation and business efficiency. So what businesses need to do is they need to find customers and they need to offer services and experiences that those customers value, and they need to do it in an efficient way.
As customers have moved to digital means with mobile and social and being on the internet, companies have had to find their customers online. And that's created a whole demand for digital marketers, product designers, email marketers, etc. They've had to move all their operations into the cloud. That's created a lot of demand for software architects, cloud programmers, cybersecurity analysts, etc. Of course, they need a lot of people that write software and design user experiences.
So I think this sort of move to the cloud has put a big emphasis on technical skills in the past, and I'm not saying that we're done with that. Many companies are still moving to the cloud and kind of making more of their services and supply chains digital. But I think what's what's now dawning on folks, you know, businesses and organisations and it really goes across organisations is businesses are realising. We're going to have to retool systems. We're out to retool processes. We're going to need different kind of talent, or at least people with different talents that are associated with keeping up with change. And when you talk about self efficacy, there's there's a number that you mentioned and I'm like, Yup, yup, yup, that all looks right.
There's another one too, which I call self management, which is, which is kind of discipline, you know, the ability to stay focussed on an objective and try to protect yourself against distraction.
In a remote work world where there's lots of notifications and chatter all over the place, just staying focused on a job task or on something you need to get done is very challenging. So I do think this whole idea of to what degree can an individual have the capacity to perform well under intense periods of change and uncertainty and working with diverse global teams, that is going to be important.
We don't know exactly what skills are going to be needed, but we know that they're going to be associated with change. And so I think that's where those skills really come from. And so businesses are realising they need to retool.
And then if you go to say, well, higher education, they're trying to change the way they teach people, they're trying to change what they teach to students, students are going to need different skills to get jobs. So universities are feeling the pressure. And governments, if there's job dislocation and job loss, governments are thinking about, well, how do we retool our workforces so that we have employed people because, you know, nothing is better for stability of society than people who have good economic opportunity and some sense of safety and stability in their lives.
Robin Pomeroy: That ability to adapt to change is absolutely key. And the thing you mentioned is all about self-management. It's what a lot of us had to do during lockdown or during COVID. In a way, it reminded me of when I was a student and it was up to me to do the revision and, you know, in a way that probably students today or in the future won't be studying in the way you and I probably did. You know, in a traditional setting, there was always that distraction. And there can be that when you when you're working remotely as well.
How optimistic are you that institutions can change fast enough to keep up with this? Because you mentioned education. Obviously you're in education, online education, but traditional universities are going to remain as well, I imagine.
I mean, write an essay now or do some kind of task. I can't imagine any student not being tempted to go to ChatGPT. And the universities have to know that. So the skill of writing an essay, has it become redundant? And those universities need to teach the next thing that humans need to do, which could be, I don't know, how to ask tasks to these machines, how to work with these machines in a productive way. Do you see the pace of change or are they just starting to wake up now, universities and other big institutions?
Jeff Maggioncalda: Well, I'll tell you, for me personally at Coursera and you know, the company was founded by Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, who are two computer scientists, some of the most famous computer scientists in the world. And so I like to think that we have kind of a good perspective of what's coming next.
I was completely caught off guard by ChatGPT. And I mean I was aware of GPT2. I was aware of GPT3, which are previous versions of this technology, but you could only access them through software interfaces and so it wasn't something you could directly use.
And I think two things happened, as you mentioned. One is the exposure. So everyday people could be like, I'm going to I'm going to chat with this technology.
But there was also a pretty big step change. I played with GPT3 before ChatGPT came out. 3.5 was a lot better than three, and four is a lot better than 3.5. Within six months the capabilities have absolutely levelled up. And so I don't I don't know that any institutions are really aware of, of where things are heading and how quickly.
I would say that businesses are most likely to respond the quickest because there is an economic incentive for them to do that and they're kind of built, generally speaking, the successful businesses, they're there because they figured out how to meet customer needs and and to adapt to changes. So I would say businesses will move the fastest.
Another thing that I think people aren't quite aware of, but we're doing this at Coursera and you'll see this throughout every piece of software you use. Everybody pretty much uses software today, whether you use your mobile phone or whether you use a word processor or whether you use email or if you're in sales, you use Salesforce. If you're accounting, you'll use NetSuite. If you're learning, you'll use Coursera. AI is going to be built into every piece of software that you use.
And so to a large degree, you know, our founder, Andrew Ng, is is often quoted as saying AI is the new electricity. It's going to infuse everything in society. Some people are calling it a general purpose technology.
It will change everything. And so whether you're ready or not, the software that you use, that all of us use, the apps that we use, the software that you use, almost anything digital is going to change and become AI-enabled. And so it's it's going to happen. It's going to happen fast and it's going to be through this sort of AI electrification of existing tools and systems that's going to move businesses quickly.
Now, when you shift over to universities, universities have a put a real premium on stability of institutions, authority, expertise, validation, you know, through the scientific method, they, universities really want to make sure that things are are true and valid. And so they are built to be a little bit slower and sort of more methodical and careful. If you think about tenure based systems and in an effort to predict sort of ideological freedom and freedom of research by kind of protecting people's jobs, your universities aren't the fastest decision making institutions and the governance structures aren't built for change.
So I do think that universities will probably struggle a bit. We work with universities. We have something called Coursera for Campus. And one of the things I really love is collaborating with universities where one of the trends that we're seeing, which is very exciting, is taking our industry micro credentials that are being created by IBM and Meta and Google and Microsoft and Salesforce and Intuit and others. And we're we're bringing these industry micro credentials into the college degree experience so that students can immediately get access to not only, you know, the best university curriculum, but also industry credentials. And when they graduate, yes, they have a college degree with all the associated rigour and broad breadth of, some people call them distribution requirements, but sort of that broader educational background. But then they can also be more deeply skilled in certain job-related skills using industry micro credential.
So I think we're going to be looking at a hybrid kind of higher education where industry plays a bigger role brought into the universities through partnership with with companies like Coursera.
And then you've got governments and, you know, they'll be responding to these changes as well. And I think to a large degree, governments to some degree are generally well set up because they've already got ministries of education who are responsible for making sure educational systems are effective and broadly accessible. And they also have ministries of information technology which kind of make sure that the backbone is there, your 5G broadband, as well as other types of communication technologies. And then they've got labour departments and that's trying to make sure that there's a good industrial policy and people are educated and are employable.
So at least we have all the right interfaces with government to work with and we are seeing more and more uptake of Coursera for Government across ministries of labour, ministries of education and ministries of information technology.
Robin Pomeroy: I'd like to ask you a bit then about that relationship between government and businesses. I'm going to read a bit, I think this is verbatim from the from the jobs report on public policy interventions. So what policymakers can do, 45% of businesses see funding for skills training as an effective intervention available to governments. And that's ahead of flexibility on hiring and firing, 33%, tax and other incentives for companies to improve wages, 33%, improvements to school systems, 31%, and changes to immigration laws on foreign talent, 27%. So 45% of businesses see funding for skills training as an effective intervention. Does that ring true with you?
Jeff Maggioncalda: It really does. You know, we are seeing across some of the things that you mentioned, there's a globalisation of talent that we're seeing as an interesting residual by-product of the pandemic.
What we were forced to do during the pandemic is not only learn online but also work remotely. And so companies like Coursera and many companies, especially for certain job roles that are more knowledge-based job roles and digital job roles, there's a flexibility with respect to where you can do that job. You could do it from home, sometimes you could do it from a coffee shop. You could certainly do it in any office, whether that's a WeWork or whether that's a corporate-owned office.
What we're doing at Coursera, and many companies are ,in fact, you can you can see on LinkedIn the number of job applications for remote work jobs continues to grow very rapidly. And companies are realising that they can tap into a global talent pool because the people don't have to immigrate necessarily to do a lot of these jobs.
So as an employer we go to where the skilled talent is like that's what we're really looking for is skilled talent. Whether or not you're in a city or in a rural area, whether or not you are in country A or country B is secondary to 'Are you the kind of talent that's going to be productive for our company?' And then that's and that's generally a question of do you have the technical fluency to use the types of tools that we need you to use? And do you have that self-efficacy capability to learn, adapt, work well with other people? And then some of the self management, which is like, can you work remotely without being so distracted that you're that you're unproductive?
So we're definitely seeing that the most important thing, and to some degree the limiting factor, is do people have the knowledge and the skills, hard skills and soft skills to be really productive in our company? And so that's that's why I'm not super surprised that this is what companies are looking for.
And the good news is, we also saw this during the pandemic. Governments who who traditionally almost always did face to face training programmes that were very expensive and to some degree highly constrained for people who often don't have means of transportation or sometimes working other jobs as they're trying to upskill, governments found out that online training programs are a very effective way to bring job-relevant training to lots of people anytime, anywhere at very low costs.
And World Economic Forum often talks about driving change through scaled systems with speed and scale, I think governments have realised that online training has been a very effective mechanism, strategy to train up lots of people quickly and cost effectively.
Robin Pomeroy: Let's look a bit more about online training then and the parts of the Jobs Report, the analysis that you were involved in, that Coursera was involved in, that suggests that online skills training is equally accessible to learners of all levels of formal education. Could you expand on that a little bit?
Jeff Maggioncalda: Yes, I think all levels of what it basically is saying is when you look at how fast learners on Coursera progressed through certain types of programmes, especially these entry level professional certificate programmes, these are for people maybe don't have a college degree, who are looking to switch careers but don't have prior work experience.
They're saying, how do I figure out what jobs are available to me? If I don't have a college degree? How do I prove I have the skills and the knowledge if I don't have a prior work experience with a big LinkedIn profile? How do I show that I can do the job?
Companies say that they're moving to skills based hiring, but there's still a question of, well, how do you observe the skills? You know, in the absence of a college degree or other learning credential, in the absence of work experience that's relevant to a certain domain? How do you know if someone has the skills?
What we're seeing is this combination of industry credentials that says, yes, you've learned the kinds of skills. And then we have on Coursera hands-on projects where you use tools that are associated with a certain career or job role to build projects that you can show to an employer and say, look, I built this project using these tools and I accomplished this course of study in this professional certificate. It really helps with the proof of skills and the credentials.
When we look at how fast people can move through these professional certificate programmes, we find that people with more advanced formal education don't really move through these programmes any more quickly than people without advanced formal education.
And so learning new skills, at least at an entry level, digital career level is kind of equally accessible to everybody.
Now, if you want to be an electrical engineer and you want to start designing semiconductor lithography prints for new chip designs, you're not going to be able to do that if you don't have, you know, advanced training in electromagnetics and electrical engineering and things like that. But for a lot of jobs that are accessible, there's really not a much bigger barrier for people who who don't have a lot of formal education.
But you do need to know how to write. You need to know how to think. You need basic mathematics. You need good, logical and critical thinking skills. I mean, you do need those basic skills that every K-through-12 programme has got to be teaching people so that they can take advantage of this kind of training, this now available.
Robin Pomeroy: I think that's a pretty optimistic note to end on, that we can adapt to the future. We can upskill like this, and it's potentially more democratised now that those things are more available. Would you say that?
Jeff Maggioncalda: I completely would. And you know, when we first started at Coursera, it was direct to individuals and we attracted a lot of individuals that came to Coursera to learn mostly data science and computer science and some business. Those were the educated self-starters who already had master's degrees.
I'd say in the last five years or so, we've really expanded the offerings to help address the skills gap for a much broader range of society.
And what I really like is in addition to selling directly to individuals, we sell to institutions. And when you look at what what governments are doing with skilling programs, what university systems are doing, like the government of Kazakhstan is putting Coursera into 25 of their public universities. So they're going to upscale the entire higher end system, all in one shot.
And then with businesses, you know, we see a lot of businesses focusing on internal mobility and reskilling programmes.
And so I do think that because the training capabilities have advanced, because of technology, it will be possible for individuals to get a lot of help and assistance from their employers who will say, hey, we need you to be doing some new job roles, here are some opportunities, and will provide the training for you to retool and redeploy into these new roles.
So it's not like everybody is out here trying to fend for yourself. Your employer should help you figure out where the opportunities are and train you for that. Schools will be much better at actually creating college degrees for working adults where you don't have to go to the campus and quit your job. And governments are also going to be doing what businesses are asking, which is continuing at higher levels to fund job skilling and reskilling programs to help everybody in society move through these periods of change.
So I am optimistic, and I think institutions are a big reason for my optimism.
Robin Pomeroy: Jeff Maggioncalda is the CEO of Coursera.
You can find The Future of Jobs report on our website weforum.org where you can also follow the Growth Summit happening on 2-3 May. On social media, the hashtag is #GrowthSummit23 - we have lots of great content across most social media channels.
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This episode of Radio Davos was presented by me, Robin Pomeroy, with reporting by Gayle Markovitz. Editing was byTaz Kelleher.
We will be back tomorrow, with more from the Growth Summit, but for now thanks to you for listening and goodbye.
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