New future workplaces report predicts robots might handle your job

September 19th, 2018  |  Canadian Business

When Davos economic forum studied society’s potential for workplace transformation, it found that more than half of all “workplace tasks will be carried out by machines by 2025.” This means a speedy change is only a few years away.

The World Economic Forum predicts that machines or bots will take over 52% of the “division of labour as a share of hours” within the next seven years. Today, bots and machines handle around 30% of our working hours.

The report predicts that by 2022, “roughly 75 million jobs worldwide will be lost” which could be offset by another predicted creation of 133 million new jobs.

Training and re-training employees for new types of work in the future will be a “major challenge,” continues the report.

“By 2025, the majority of workplace tasks in existence today will be performed by machines or algorithms. At the same time a greater number of new jobs will be created … Our research suggests that neither businesses nor governments have fully grasped the size of this key challenge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said Saadia Zahidi, a WEF board member.

The report, named “Future of Jobs 2018,” is based on survey data from “executives representing 15 million employees in 20 economies.” The first study of its kind, from 2016, saw workplaces negatively adapting to technology at first. The 2018 survey showed that workplaces now have a better understanding of how different work opportunities can be made while utilizing technology.

The authors believe workplaces will have to adapt more readily towards enabling remote work, building safeguards that protect employees, and providing new skills to keep them up to speed and competitive.

Conversely, only one in three executive respondents “planned to reskill at-risk workers.”

The WEF anticipates a striking change to the work environment, quality and location of work, along with a particular uncertainty regarding work permanency.

“Businesses are to expand use of contractors for task-specialized work, engage workers in more flexible arrangements, utilize remote staffing, and change up locations to get access to the right talent.”

Half of responding companies believed their full-time workforces will shrink over the next four years. Germany’s trade union DGB warned against rapid change.

“People, whether they’re workers or consumers, will only accept and tolerate the consequences if technology serves them,” and not the other way around.