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"The future of work" due to COVID-19 pandemic and identifying jobs of tomorrow

"The future of work" due to COVID-19 pandemic and identifying jobs of tomorrow

The World Economic Forum offered a view of the jobs of tomorrow at the start of 2020. These roles are deeply concentrated among those professions that:

  • care for people,

  • support the planet,

  • manage new technologies and

  • communicate products and services: care economy, green economy, people and culture; data and artificial intelligence, engineering and cloud computing, product development; sales, marketing and content.


As the pandemic highlights the critical roles that workers in

  • hospitals,

  • grocery stores,

  • schools and

  • other essential professions play,

the opportunities within the care economy are expected to increase.


Similarly, roles within technology creation and management, e-commerce and the broader knowledge economy are expected to continue to grow. And as governments seek to rebuild their economies, new sources of growth — and jobs — will also emerge from the green economy, science and health research, and digital infrastructure. For developing economies, a proactive new approach to the jobs of tomorrow is even more critical as the global value chains of the past are rethought and with it the manufacturing-driven growth model of the past.


Prioritize re-deployment and re-employment


Active support to both at-risk and unemployed workers will be critical for businesses and governments. Many companies have already stepped up to provide support in the short-term to rapidly redeploy furloughed workers from low-demand roles to high-demand roles, such as those in logistics and care often beyond the boundaries of a single company or industry.


In countries where governments have systems in place for doing this at scale and in a proactive manner, workers are already faring better than in those that don’t. Yet as governments consider the next set of fiscal stimuli they must also prioritize labor market services for redeployment and reemployment, including providing job market insights, job market intermediation (match-making services), and job-search assistance.


A decade ago, such policies were successfully used to manage the rapid increase in unemployment. Given the more widespread nature of the current crisis, it is critical that such services are expanded and ready to manage the post-pandemic recovery period.


Revalue essential work and improve the quality of jobs


It has become increasingly clear that our most essential workers are among those in the lowest-paid and most precarious roles, and that in many developing economies in particular basic social protection is missing for much of the formal and informal workforce.


The period after the Great Depression and World War II saw the formalization of the weekend and other workers’ rights in the United States, and the creation of health and income safety nets as well as widespread education investments across Europe. Yet, as the nature of our economies has changed, laws, standards, and wages have not kept pace with the needs of workers — and, in many cases, their employers.


In parallel to managing the urgencies of the crisis, it is imperative that governments, businesses and workers’ representatives work together to lead a new historical shift in upgrading the protocols that govern our labor markets.


A collaborative recovery, reset and rebuild


Collaboration between employers, governments and workers both nationally and globally will be critical to the recovery. At the World Economic Forum, we announced in January the creation of a reskilling revolution platform devoted to improving education, skills and jobs for a billion people by 2030. We have now dedicated this platform to supporting governments, companies and educators to help workers and students through the crisis, exchange best practices and to build back better education, skills and jobs systems for the post-pandemic recovery.


The pandemic crisis has exposed more glaringly than ever before the inadequacies and inequalities in the system of the past. Yet it has also refocused the minds of global leaders on the fundamental value of human life, human potential and human livelihoods. This is the window of opportunity to invest in our most precious asset: our human capital.




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