Labor & Workforce

WEF: Work tasks to be split evenly between man and machine by 2025

Geneva, Oct 21 (efe-epa).- With millions already working from home, the Covid-19 pandemic is set to accelerate the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and by 2025 the time spent on work tasks will be split evenly between human and machine, according to a report from the World Economic Forum Wednesday.

In its annual Future of Jobs report, the think-tank said the global pandemic had boosted company interest in adopting artificial intelligence and robotization, two pillars of the next industrial revolution.

It concluded that roughly half of all work tasks will be carried out by machinery by 2025, compared to a third today.

The report acknowledged that the shift to automation would result in job losses but insisted that it would create others in areas such as cloud computing and data analysis, which will see a rise in demand.

“There has been a slowdown in the rate of job creation, that’s not a surprise given the lockdowns that have been underway, the recession that has followed,” Saadia Zahidi, WEF managing director said presenting the report.

“But at the same time if we look at the projections that heads of HR and those at the frontlines of making these decisions, what they’re saying (is that) we find overall the rate of job creation will still surpass the rate of job destruction.”

The WEF predicts that by 2025, around 85 million jobs in the 26 advanced and emerging economies analyzed in the report will be “displaced” by the transition in division of labour but that 97 million new roles adapted to the new balance between humans, machines and algorithms, could emerge.

Some 43 percent of the businesses that took part in the study said they were looking to expand in automation and reduce the human workforce while 34  said they would boost their human workforce “as a result of deeper technological integration,” the report said.

With the looming technological shift, employees will have to adapt their skills. A total of 94 percent of businesses heads surveyed in the report said they expected their employees to learn new skills on the job, a remarkable uptick from the 64 percent registered just two years ago.

Emily Glassberg Sands, head of data analysis at Coursera, an online learning platform, said she had already seen a rapid increase in demand for online reskilling courses.

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