By 2030, as many as 375 million workers—or 14% of the global workforce—could be useless in their jobs, thanks to automation.
That figure comes from the McKinsey Global Institute, which released a report yesterday looking at the displacement that automation will cause in the near future. Research analysts from the consultancy firm estimate that somewhere between 400 million and 800 million people will find themselves in need of new jobs as automation and machine learning creep into industries all over the world. Of that number, McKinsey suggests 375 million will have to switch occupational categories entirely.
Those people aren’t doomed to unemployment—they’ll simply have to learn a radically new set of skills for work. But that’s a bit of a problem if you consider how little countries and employers have been spending in recent decades on methods of income support (such as unemployment insurance or job-transition benefits) or forward-thinking training.
Most of the countries examined, McKinsey shows, roughly halved their investment in labour markets in the past two decades.
This results in a whole new mindset the future labour market will require. And when new skills are required, people cannot simply be put off in favour of machines.
In the US, for instance, more and more people need secondary training, the demand of which is not in line with its supply.
It’s going to take a shift in mindset. People need to expect they may not only have entirely different employers, but entirely different occupations. It will require changes not just from employers and policy-makers, but also individuals, on how we think of jobs.
Lifelong learning, or better, life largelearning, shall be a urgent matter then.
We should start training kids in schools to a new flexibility of mind and resources. They should be more prone to change than ever, because this is what they are going to see in the nearest future.