Full report
Published: 30 April 2023

The Future of Jobs Report 2023

3. Jobs outlook

Macrotrends and technology are set to drive a mixed outlook for job creation and destruction in the next five years, across job categories and industries.

This chapter uses the concept of labour-market churn to help quantify the expected change in labour markets. In particular, the Survey results help quantify structural labour-market churn, which results from changes to the employment structure of companies when new roles are created or existing roles are eliminated (this excludes job changes where a new employee replaces an existing one in the same role). Accordingly, this chapter’s analysis estimates churn using anticipated structural changes reported by surveyed companies in the composition of their workforces between 2023 and 2027.

Labour-market churn and the pace of transformation

Labour-market churn refers to the pace of reallocation of workers and jobs. The survey provides insight into structural labour-market churn; namely, the number of expected new jobs, plus the number of roles expected to be displaced during the period, divided by the size of the labour force in question. Structural churn does not include the natural churn of workers moving between jobs for personal reasons. Five-year structural churn is estimated for each job by summing the absolute magnitudes of its reported workforce fraction changes from now to 2027, reported by the respondents in the Future of Jobs Survey, and dividing by the summed workforce fractions today, reported by the respondents in the Future of Jobs Survey. It can be interpreted as an overall measure of disruption, both growth and decline.

Overall, this report estimates a mean structural labour-market churn of 23% for surveyed companies across sectors and countries over the next five years (see Figure 3.1). This indicates that total expected job movement, including both new roles being created and existing ones being destroyed, represents 23% of the current workforce. This finding helps to illustrate situations whereby relatively modest changes in net job numbers across a country or industry can partly mask major underlying reconfigurations within a churning labour market.

Future churn expectations for the next 5 years are likely to continue the ongoing structural reconfiguration of labour markets. In Chapter 1, this report identified employment lagging behind 2019 levels in Accommodation, Food and Leisure; Manufacturing; Retail and wholesale of consumer goods; Supply chain and transportation; and Media, Entertainment and Sports. This report’s churn analysis suggests a higher than average churn from 2023 to 2027 in the Supply Chain and Transportation and Media, Entertainment and Sports industries, where respondents estimate structural five-year churn to be 29% and 32% respectively, but lower than average churn in Accommodation, Food and Leisure; Manufacturing and Retail; and Wholesale of Consumer Goods (see Figure 3.2). Relatively high churn is also forecast in the Telecommunications and Media, Entertainment and Sports, Financial Services and Capital Markets, and Information and Technology Services industries, in part reflecting technology-driven job changes.

Growing and declining jobs

The net growth or decline of jobs can be estimated in a similar way to churn. Figure 3.3 displays how surveyed businesses expect jobs to grow or decline fastest, as a proportion of their existing labour force. AI and Machine Learning Specialists top the list of fast-growing jobs, followed by Sustainability Specialists and Business Intelligence Analysts. The majority of the fastest growing roles on the list are technology-related roles. The majority of fastest declining roles are clerical or secretarial roles, with Bank Tellers and Related Clerks, Postal Service Clerks, and Cashiers and Ticket Clerks expected to decline fastest.

Many of the roles which are forecast to be growing and declining fastest, relative to their current proportion in the labour force, are consistent with the findings published in previous Future of Jobs reports in 2016, 2018 and 2020, signalling a structural reconfiguration of labour-markets with its roots in technological adoption and automation (see Chapter 2). These emerging roles that have been highlighted in all four reports include Data Analysts/Scientists, AI and Machine Learning Specialists, and Digital Transformation Specialists, while declining roles include Data Entry Clerks; Executive and Administrative Secretaries; and Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Clerks.

To approximate the total impact of job growth and decline, this report compares proportionate growth forecasts with estimates of the total number of workers in these roles based on ILO data for those countries in which data is available. Using this method as a means to obtain an indicative extrapolation of the size of global workforces, the Future of Jobs data set corresponds to 673 million workers in the full ILO data set of 820 million workers (see Figure 3.1). The Future of Jobs Survey is not structured in a way to derive estimates for the remaining 147 million workers, as sectors which employ these workers in large numbers could not be not surveyed in sufficiently large numbers to be able to report reliable predictions. The ILO data set is smaller than modelled ILO estimates of a total of roughly 1.7 billion workers worldwide when country-level data gaps are extrapolated, and smaller than the estimated 3.3 billion workers in either formal or informal employment. The conclusions derived for this subset of data should thus not be treated as comprehensive, but provide useful insights on selected segments of the workforce.

Figures 3.4 and 3.5 present data on jobs that are expected to see the most absolute growth and decline, and survey results suggest that the highest growth from 2023–2027 will be for Agricultural Equipment Operators, Heavy Truck and Bus Drivers, and Vocational Education Teachers. Data Entry Clerks; Administrative and Executive Secretaries; and Accounting, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Clerks are expected to suffer the greatest reduction in employment. Combined, these three roles make up over half of the total expected job destruction.

Overall, our analysis suggests that 69 million jobs will be created and 83 million jobs destroyed, leading to a contraction of global labour markets of 14 million jobs in the next five years at the present rate of change, though this figure is subject to a high degree of uncertainty as it is not holistic. The sum of these changes yields the estimated overall structural labour-market churn of 23% of the current global workforce the data is able to cover.

Figure 3.6 plots these absolute net growth estimates versus churn for each role for which the survey has sufficient data. The jobs that appear towards the top of the graph are expected to be growing, in largest absolute numbers, while those at the bottom of the graph are expected to be declining, in largest absolute numbers. Jobs clustered around zero net growth are expected to churn in the next five years, with displaced jobs replaced by newly created jobs in roughly equal numbers. The fraction of the total number of jobs which is expected to churn between displacement and creation increases along the horizontal axis. As the concept of labour-market churn does not distinguish between job creation and job displacement, jobs can also diverge to substantial expected job creation in the top right of the figure or substantial expected job displacement in the bottom right of the figure. The absence of data points at zero net growth and zero churn shows that respondents expect no job to experience labour-market stability in the next five years. Most occupations in sectors covered by the survey data set should at present expect to experience relative stability in overall employment numbers, but a structural churn between 10% and 40% over the next five years.

In analyzing the patterns in job growth, decline and churn, seven groups of related jobs emerge, being collectively impacted by similar trends, either positively or negatively. The following sections explore the developments in these seven job groups.

Digital access and digital trade enabled jobs

As noted in Chapter 2, 86% of respondents expect broadening digital access to transform their organization, with 52% expecting it to create job growth and 19% expecting decline as a result. When combined with data on jobs trends, this appears to drive expectations of job growth in digital-trade related jobs and a reduction in roles where more digitalized global interactions cause aspects of face-to-face services and record-keeping to become less necessary.

For example, E-commerce Specialists, Digital Transformation Specialists, and Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists are expected to increase by 25-35%, leading to an increase of 2 million jobs. This growth expectation is not consistent across regions however, with South Asia expecting these roles to grow fastest at over 30%, and Sub-Saharan Africa the slowest at 15%. Respondents expect this growth on average to be faster for Digital Transformation Specialists in China (32%) and slower in Japan (23%).

The decline of face-to-face and record-keeping roles is consistent across industries, but most pronounced in Information Technology and Digital Communications, at around 50%, Financial Services (around 40%), and Supply Chain and Transportation (around 40%). Other industries that show relatively consistent decline include Education and Training (~30%), Energy and Materials (~35%), Infrastructure (~20%), Manufacturing (~30%), Professional Services (~30%), and Retail and Wholesale of Consumer Goods (~20%).

More specifically, respondents expect to see 25-35% less demand for Cashiers and Ticket Clerks; Data-entry Clerks; Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks; and Secretaries. The trend for Data Entry Clerks is consistent throughout the world, however it is particularly pronounced in Brazil (46%), and slightly less prevalent in some high-income countries such as Germany, the United States, Singapore and the United Kingdom, at around 25%. Similar to Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks, this trend is global, but particularly pronounced in Japan, Italy and the United States. Since these are currently popular occupations, these expectations could result in a decline of 26 million jobs globally.

Energy transition and climate-change mitigation jobs

Another area survey respondents expect to grow quickly, which currently employs a relatively small number of people, are jobs in renewable energy and those related to climate change mitigation. This is reflected in almost universal expectations of growth for Renewable Energy Engineers and Solar Energy Installation and System Engineers among respondents who identified these as common roles in their organisation. The same holds true for Sustainability Specialists and Environmental Protection Professionals that are expected to grow by 33% and 34% respectively, translating to growth of approximately 1 million jobs. This is in line with business leaders’ expectations for the green transition and climate-mitigation investments to drive job growth as outlined in Chapter 2. This expectation continues the growth in green jobs that labour markets around the world have witnessed in the past four years, as indicated by additional research conducted by LinkedIn for this year’s Future of Jobs Report (see Box 3.1).

BOX 3.1 – Trends in green jobs

In collaboration with LinkedIn

Green jobs, and a workforce with the skills to fill them, are essential for meeting climate targets. Drawing on data provided by LinkedIn, this year’s Future of Jobs Report assesses how employers and employees are responding to the green transition. Employers have increased green job hiring rates, with year-on-year green job growth exceeding the overall hiring rate growth every year since 2019, as shown in Figure B3.1. This has resulted in sustainability jobs making up three of the top ten fastest growing roles on the LinkedIn platform over the last four years, including Sustainability Analysts, Sustainability Specialists, and Sustainability Managers. Meanwhile the proportion of the labour force reporting green skills is rising to meet the increased demand, growing by almost 40% since 2015, from 9% to 13%.

Drawing further on LinkedIn’s data, we discover that the Manufacturing and Oil and Gas sectors have the highest levels of green skill intensity. This is an encouraging sign as it could enable a green-skills-led approach to decarbonizing these emissions-intensive industries. This is consistent across the 50 countries included in the analysis, with Austria, Germany, Italy, the United States and Spain leading the way in Manufacturing, while India, the United States and Finland feature at the top of the list for Oil and Gas.

With governments playing a key role driving and facilitating the green transition, countries including Australia, Argentina, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States are leading green skills intensity in Government and the Public Sector. This relatively high green skills intensity may enable these countries to accelerate their green transition. Industries with lower green skills intensity include Finance, Technology and Information and Media.

Advanced technology jobs

Adoption of frontier technologies is also driving job growth across three job families that currently do not employ large numbers of people:

A 30-35% increase (1.4 million) in demand for roles such as Data Analysts and Scientists, Big Data Specialists, Business Intelligence Analysts, Database and Network Professionals, and Data Engineers that is driven by advances and growth in adoption of frontier technologies which rely on big data. This expectation of growth in these roles is common across countries, but particularly prevalent in China, where growth is expected to be closer to 45%. Industries expecting high growth in these roles include Financial Services (31%), Retail and Wholesale of Consumer Goods (37%), and Supply Chain and Transportation (42%), while expectations are more measured for Information Technology and Digital Communications, at just 8%.

Demand for AI and Machine Learning Specialists is expected to grow by 40%, or 1 million jobs, as the usage of AI and machine learning drives continued industry transformation. Recent research on Generative AI indicates it may affect a significant proportion of total worker tasks.49 However, this does not distinguish between tasks being augmented vs automated. This research also finds that this is most likely to affect higher wage roles and jobs with greater barriers to entry.

A 31% increase in demand for Information-Security Analysts, leading to 0.2 million additional jobs. This is driven by increased adoption of encryption and cybersecurity which aligns with findings of the World Economic Forum’s 2023 Global Risks Report50 that widespread cybercrime and cyber insecurity are a top 10 global risk in both the short and long term – and yet there is a current global shortage of 3 million cybersecurity professionals.

Education jobs

Jobs in the Education industry are expected to grow at around 10% during the 2023–2027 period. With many people employed in these roles, this growth could lead to 3 million additional jobs for Vocational Education Teachers and University and Higher Education Teachers over the 2023-2027 period. This growth is particularly prevalent in non-G20 countries where it is expected to be about 50% higher than in G20 countries. Limitations in the Future of Jobs sample for organizations operating in the Education and Training sector indicate caution should be applied when interpreting these figures. Two potential drivers for growth in these roles are: the high rate of adoption of education and workforce development technologies identified in Chapter 2 and organizations’ efforts to close skills gaps in their workforces (see Chapter 5).

Should survey respondents’ forecast growth in education jobs materialize in the next five years, this would continue the trend in social jobs that labour markets around the world witnessed in the past three years, as highlighted by research conducted by Indeed for this year’s Future of Jobs Report (see Box 3.2).

Agriculture jobs

Jobs for Agricultural professionals, especially Agricultural Equipment Operators, are expected to see an increase of 30%. Given the current employment levels for these roles, this could lead to an additional 3 million jobs. This increased demand may be driven by the combined effect of several trends such as supply chains shortening and input costs rising, as well as the increasing use of agricultural technologies, and increasing investments in climate change adaptation. Many Agricultural workers are employed in organizations that are underrepresented in the Future of Jobs Survey, so these numbers should also be interpreted with care. These workers can also expect to be less impacted by generative AI according to research on the impact of Large Language Models on the Labour Market.51

Repairers, factory-workers and labourers

With uncertain impacts from increased uptake of frontier technologies and non-humanoid robots, such as drones and industrial automation (see Chapter 2), there is a mixed outlook for Mechanics and Machinery Repairers, Construction Labourers, and Assembly and Factory Workers.

For Mechanics and Machinery Repairers, almost as many respondents expect a declining outlook as a growing one. However, the relative size of growth and decline that respondents expect, and the large total employment in the role, means this is one of the largest-growing roles in absolute terms at around 1.9 million additional jobs expected. This growth is concentrated in non-G20 countries, where it is expected to be around 17%, whereas G20 countries expect to see a 1% net decline. The regional picture is mixed, with employers in Europe expecting 8% net growth while those in South Asia expect to see a 9% net decline.

For Construction Workers, more respondents expect the role to decline than grow, however the relative size of these changes mean we expect to see demand for an additional 1 million workers. There is also expected to be significant churn between jobs and employers.

For Assembly and Factory Workers, respondents expect a reduction in demand of 5%, which could reduce this workforce by about 2 million jobs. This reduction is driven by declining demand from Advanced Manufacturing and Electronics industries – especially in China, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom. These workers may, however, be shielded from some of the impacts of Generative AI, as manufacturing roles are expected to be less prone to automation from this technology.52

Supply-chain and logistics jobs

Another job group that is facing both expectations of growth and decline in jobs are roles connected to Logistics. Localization of supply chains is expected to be one of the largest gross contributors to job growth but also a significant job displacer. Meanwhile, supply shortages and rising input costs are expected to be a major job displacer – second only to a global economic slowdown. As a result, the report finds some employers expect to hire more Heavy Truck and Bus Drivers, while others expect to reduce this workforce. On aggregate, respondents expect a net increase of 2 million, or 12.5% of this workforce. This expected growth may compound the current Driver shortages outlined in Chapter 1 of this report. In contrast, expectations regarding Car, Van and Motorcycle Drivers differ among respondents, but, overall see a net decline of 0.6 million (4%). Logistics Specialists, as well as Light Truck Drivers, should see small net increases.

BOX 3.2 The pandemic has driven faster growth for social jobs (in collaboration with Indeed)

In collaboration with Indeed

Social jobs – those in Care, Education and Healthcare – play a vital role in societal well-being, enabling social mobility, securing human capital and strengthening societal resilience. As the world faces a growing and ageing global population, the importance of social jobs will no doubt increase.

Research conducted by Indeed for this report finds that job postings have grown significantly for both social and other jobs since the pandemic. By comparing the relative growth of social and other jobs we can understand changes in the make-up of jobs.

Figure B3.2.1 shows the relative growth of the three segments of social jobs (Care, Education and Healthcare) compared to all other jobs. For 15 of the 22 countries analysed, social jobs have grown faster than other jobs. This is predominantly driven by Healthcare and Care jobs, which have grown faster than other jobs in 16 of the 22 countries – reflecting the critical importance of these jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Education jobs, meanwhile, have grown faster than other jobs in 12 of 20 countries.

Additional data reveals that France, Ireland and Belgium show particularly strong social-job growth relative to other countries, while Brazil, United Arab Emirates and India are among the seven countries where job growth was slower for social jobs than non-social jobs.

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