Technological progress rapidly changing nature of work

The challenge is to equip workers with skills they will need no matter what future jobs look like.

Greater investments in people’s education are urgent in a rapidly evolving jobs market increasingly shaped by technology, according to a World Bank report, The Changing Nature of Work.  New markets and jobs are driving demand for employees with teamwork, communication and problem-solving skills.

“The nature of work is not only changing – it’s changing rapidly,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.  “We don’t know what jobs children in primary school today will compete for, because many of those jobs don’t exist yet.

“The great challenge is to equip them with the skills they’ll need no matter what future jobs look like – skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking, as well as interpersonal skills like empathy and collaboration.”

The number of robots operating worldwide is rising rapidly, the report says, stoking fears of a job meltdown.  But technology is laying down a path to create jobs, increase productivity and deliver effective public services.  Fears surrounding innovation, which has already transformed living standards, are unfounded.

Digital technology spurs rapid innovation and growth, disrupting old production patterns and blurring the boundaries of firms.  New business models, such as digital platforms, evolve at dizzying speed from local start-ups to global behemoths.  They often have few tangible assets or employees.

New platform marketplaces are connecting people more quickly than ever before. This “scale without mass” delivers economic opportunity to millions of people, regardless of where they live.

Technological change is eliminating repetitive “codifiable” jobs but replacing them with new types of employment.  In Europe alone, there will be an estimated of 23 million new jobs this century.

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