After years of growing income inequality, concerns about technology-driven displacement of jobs, and rising societal discord globally, the combined health and economic shocks of 2020 have put economies into freefall, disrupted labour markets and fully revealed the inadequacies of our social contracts. Millions of individuals globally have lost their livelihoods and millions more are at risk from the global recession, structural change to the economy and further automation. Additionally, the pandemic and the subsequent recession have impacted most those communities which were already at a disadvantage.
We find ourselves at a defining moment: the decisions and choices we make today will determine the course of entire generations’ lives and livelihoods. We have the tools at our disposal. The bounty of technological innovation which defines our current era can be leveraged to unleash human potential. We have the means to reskill and upskill individuals in unprecedented numbers, to deploy precision safety nets which protect displaced workers from destitution, and to create bespoke maps which orient displaced workers towards the jobs of tomorrow where they will be able to thrive.
However, the efforts to support those affected by the current crisis lag behind the speed of disruption. It is now urgent to enact a Global Reset towards a socio-economic system that is more fair, sustainable and equitable, one where social mobility is reinvigorated, social cohesion restored, and economic prosperity is compatible with a healthy planet. If this opportunity is missed, we will face lost generations of adults and youth who will be raised into growing inequality, discord and lost potential.
The Future of Jobs Report provides the timely insights needed to orient labour markets and workers towards opportunity today and in the future of work. Now in its third edition, the report maps the jobs and skills of the future, tracking the pace of change and direction of travel. This year we find that while technology-driven job creation is still expected to outpace job destruction over the next five years, the economic contraction is reducing the rate of growth in the jobs of tomorrow. There is a renewed urgency to take proactive measures to ease the transition of workers into more sustainable job opportunities. There is room for measured optimism in the data, but supporting workers will require global, regional and national public-private collaboration at an unprecedented scale and speed.
The Platform for the New Economy and Society at the World Economic Forum works as a “docking station” for such collaboration on economic growth, revival and transformation; work, wages and job creation; education, skills and learning; and diversity, equity and inclusion. By leveraging this publication and other insights, the Platform supports a range of consortia and action coalitions, including the Reskilling Revolution Initiative to provide better jobs, skills and education to one billion people by 2030. We are deeply grateful to the New Economy and Society Stewardship Board members for their leadership of this agenda, to the over 100 partners of the Platform, and the expert guidance of Global Future Councils, the communities of Chief Economists, Chief Human Resource Officers, Chief Learning Officers and Chief Diversity Officers, and to a range of national ministries of economy, education and labour.
We are also grateful to the many partners whose views created the unique collection of insights in this report. It presents the workforce planning and quantitative projections of Chief Human Resource and Strategy officers through to 2025, while also drawing upon the qualitative expertise of a wide range of World Economic Forum executive and expert communities. In addition, the report features unique data from LinkedIn, Coursera, ADP and FutureFit.AI, which have provided innovative new metrics to shed light on one of the most important challenges of our time.
We would like to express our appreciation to Vesselina Ratcheva, Insights Lead; Guillaume Hingel, Insights Lead; and Sophie Brown, Project Specialist for their dedication to this report. We would also like to thank Ida Jeng Christensen, Eoin Ó Cathasaigh, Genesis Elhussein, Till Leopold and SungAh Lee for their support of this project at the World Economic Forum.
Human ingenuity is at the root of all shared prosperity. As the frontier between the work tasks performed by humans and those performed by machines and algorithms shifts, we have a short window of opportunity to ensure that these transformations lead to a new age of good work, good jobs and improved quality of life for all. In the midst of the pandemic recession, this window is closing fast. Businesses, governments and workers must plan to work together to implement a new vision for the global workforce.