5 Talent Management Insights from WEF’s 2023 Future of Jobs Report

As we venture deeper into the era of digitalization and sustainability, one thing is becoming increasingly apparent: the nature of work is changing and, along with it, the landscape of talent management. The World Economic Forum (WEF) 2023 Future of Jobs report gives us a glimpse into these shifts and their implications for businesses and professionals worldwide. For businesses striving to navigate this evolving space, understanding these trends and preparing for them is crucial.


The report reveals the diverging outcomes in labor markets globally due to economic, health, and geopolitical trends. Tight labor markets dominate high-income countries, while unemployment remains high in low and lower-middle-income countries. More interestingly, these outcomes also diverge at an individual level, with basic education workers and women facing lower employment levels.


The Great Shift: Tech Adoption and ESG Standards


According to the report, over 85% of organizations identified increased adoption of new technologies and broadening digital access as the driving trends in their transformation. The application of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards within organizations is also poised to have a significant impact. This focus on technology and sustainability is a clarion call to businesses to embrace digitization and social responsibility as critical aspects of their strategy.


For instance, big data, cloud computing, and AI are now in the limelight, with more than 75% of companies planning to adopt these technologies in the next five years. Other digital platforms and applications are not left behind, with 86% of companies expecting to incorporate them into their operations.


Interestingly, the report suggests that most of these technologies will have a net positive impact on jobs in the next five years. Big data analytics, climate change, and environmental management technologies are expected to drive job growth. While humanoid and non-humanoid robots are seen as net job destructors, the overall technology adoption trend creates a clear impetus for professionals to upskill and businesses to adapt to these changes.


Fastest growing vs. fastest declining jobs |

Fastest growing vs. fastest declining jobs by WEF Future of Jobs Report 2023


The New Human-Machine Frontier


Organizations now estimate that 34% of all business-related tasks are performed by machines, with the remaining 66% performed by humans. Contrary to expectations, automation in businesses has been slower than anticipated. However, this isn’t an indication of a declining trend. Instead, we’re witnessing a shift in the type of tasks being automated. More cognitive tasks like reasoning, communicating, and coordinating – traditionally considered human strongholds – are expected to be more automatable in the future.


Human-machine frontier

Human-machine frontier from | Future of Jobs report 2023 by WEF


Jobs Growth and Decline: The Impact of Technology and Sustainability


The report further paints a vivid picture of specific areas of job growth and decline. Fast-growing roles relative to their size today are driven by technology, digitalization, and sustainability, with AI and Machine Learning Specialists, Sustainability Specialists, and Business Intelligence Analysts topping the list. On the flip side, most of the fastest-declining roles are clerical or secretarial ones, signaling a shift driven by technology and digitalization.


Large-scale job growth is expected in education, agriculture, and digital commerce and trade, while significant losses are anticipated in administrative roles and traditional security, factory, and commerce roles.


Largest growth vs. largest declining jobs


Upskilling the Workforce: A Strategic Necessity


In response to these transformative trends, employers anticipate a labor market churn of 23% of jobs in the next five years. Employers estimate that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted during this period, emphasizing the need for significant reskilling and upskilling initiatives.


The report identifies analytical thinking, creative thinking, and self-efficacy skills – resilience, flexibility, and agility; motivation and self-awareness; and curiosity and lifelong learning – as top priorities for skills training. However, businesses must also invest in emerging areas like AI and big data, environmental stewardship, and cybersecurity to stay ahead of the curve.


However, the need for upskilling also presents a challenge. Despite the urgency, only half of workers are believed to have access to adequate training opportunities. In response, a majority of businesses intend to prioritize women, youth under 25, and individuals with disabilities in their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs.


Shaping the Future of Talent Management


As the future of work continues to unfold, organizations must harness these emerging trends to shape their talent management strategies. Embracing technology and sustainability, investing in reskilling and upskilling, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion will be crucial in navigating this new landscape.


Total job growth and loss


In essence, the WEF 2023 Future of Jobs report provides a roadmap for organizations to prepare for a future characterized by continuous change and innovation. The future of work may be uncertain, but one thing is clear: those who adapt, upskill, and innovate will be the ones to thrive in this new era.

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