The jobs disappearing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution


If you are a Khoja entrepreneur, what emerging areas should you be investing in? And if you’re a young person planning your career, where will you have the best chance of finding work when you graduate?

Intelligence from the experts at the World Economic Forum sheds fascinating light on this conundrum. Economists carried out a survey of industries across the globe and extrapolated from the results to draw up these lists of emerging and declining roles in the upcoming Fourth Industrial Revolution*

Who’s up and who’s down

They calculate that 133 million new jobs will be created from their Top 10 Emerging chart, with data analysts and scientists, and artificial intelligence and machine learning specialists in the forefront. It’s not all data, AI and tech, however. They predict a growing need for general and operations managers, along with sales and marketing professionals as well.

Jobs on the way out in the Top 10 Declining chart are topped by data entry and payroll clerks, but highly qualified accountants are also at risk, along with factory workers at the lower end of the economic spectrum. In all 75 million of these jobs could go by 2022, according to the World Economic Forum.

Strikingly, only about half of today’s core jobs – making up the bulk of employment across industries – are expected to remain stable in this period.

More jobs in health and education

Something to note, however, is that these projections refer to employees in large firms, and more roles could be created in health, care and education.

The economists also highlighted:

  • The need for a mindset of agile learning on the part of both company leaders and workers.
  • How new technologies could augment human work and upgrade job quality.
  • Likely higher investment in retraining, upskilling and workforce transformation.

They also noted: “There are complex feedback loops between new technology, jobs and skills. New technologies can drive business growth, job creation and demand for specialist skills but they can also displace entire roles when certain tasks become obsolete or automated. Skills gaps – both among workers and among the leadership of organisations – can speed up the trends towards automation in some cases but can also pose barriers to the adoption of new technologies and therefore impede business growth.”

*The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is described as the fourth major industrial era since the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century, following on the heels of the digital revolution of the late 20th century. It is defined as “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres, collectively referred to as cyber-physical systems.”


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