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"Reskilling, relocation and flexibility"

McKinsey Global Institute’s (MGI) extensive report comparing job losses and gains across a range of industry sectors in six major countries concludes that the overall volume of jobs is unlikely to change significantly. However, it warns that the nature of the work required could mean significant re-skilling, relocation and flexibility on a scale comparable to historical shifts from agriculture to the factories and from manufacturing into services.

The report includes a useful interactive which allows you to click between different categories of occupation to highlight the extent of change predicted across six global economies.

Key findings:

  • MGI estimates that up to 30% of the hours worked globally could be automated by 2030, although there is significant variation between the countries studied.

  • Automation does not necessarily mean that jobs will be lost, but it does require acquisition of new skills.

  • Where jobs involve managing people or engaging with customers, the scope for effective automation is lower.

  • “Low level” manual jobs are difficult to automate and there is little economic incentive to do so.

Where new jobs are most likely to be created:

  • To satisfy increasing demand for consumer goods

  • Healthcare needs related to ageing populations

  • Developing and providing information technology services

  • Construction industry and associated services to meet rising demand for housing

  • Development and installation of renewable energies

  • Domestic and caring services for the very young and the very old

Based on historical shifts in demand, 8-9% of the workforce could be employed in roles that currently don’t exist.

The report concludes:

“We will all need creative visions for how our lives are organized and valued in the future, in a world where the role and meaning of work start to shift.”

Businesses will need to take a proactive approach to managing the changing workforce. This could mean acquiring new talent as well as removing or retraining of existing employees.

Individuals need to acquire skills that will be in demand and be prepared to learn new ones on an ongoing basis.

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