WEF estimates that machines will perform more current work tasks than humans by 2025 compared to humans. This will significantly impact the global workforce and working arrangements. Although there is a notion that AI will eliminate more jobs than it creates, the truth is the opposite. The only challenge is understanding how this paradigm shift will affect the employment sector and plan accordingly for the future. The preparation for this needs to involve planning for the emerging roles and developing strategies at the executive level to handle the surge in AI-related jobs.
According to the WEF report, 54% of the employees in large organizations would need to upskill to fully harness the growth of opportunities. Sadly, most of them are not prepared because only half are planning to train only employees in key roles, while one-third are planning to train at-risk workers. At the same time, nearly half of all companies expect their full-time workforce to reduce by 2022 because of automation. However, 40% of the companies expect to increase their workforce, while more than 25% expect automation of tasks to create new roles in organizations.
In 2021, AI augmentation will generate more than $2.5 trillion in business value while recouping over 6 billion hours of worker productivity. Other industries such as outsourcing are experiencing a fundamental change in business models with reinvestment of cost reduction caused by increased productivity. Businesses will need to take an active role in supporting the development and reskilling of their workforce. On the other hand, individuals also need to be proactive and ensure lifelong learning, while governments need to create an enabling environment where learning and the adoption of new modes of work take place.
With this kind of prediction and forecast, there will be a major disruption. However, the key concern is the challenges caused by the unprecedented increase in the adoption of AI. The most concerning challenges are the skill gaps and the redundancy of workers. Skill gaps occur if surplus jobs are left unfilled because workers lack skills and training to take up these positions. On the other hand, mass unemployment caused by major shifts in the job market can adversely affect economies due to loss of productivity and overreliance on government assistance programs. These are the reasons why all stakeholders must engage in training the workforce, preparing policies, and investing in AI-related education. Training should focus on new technologies and fast-growing job markets across all industries, such as data analysts, software engineers, and IoT specialists. Although the WEF report is just a single proof that AI is the future of work, it sheds light on the need to prepare for more developments in the near future.