Giving Compass’ Take:
• McKinsey Global Institute details a recent report on the state of the workforce now — and what trends to look out for through 2030, especially when it comes to automation.
• The upshot is that automation will be disruptive, but not totally destructive, as long as some tough transitions are made in job training and education. Are we prepared to step up to the challenge as investors and advocates?
Building on our January 2017 report on automation, McKinsey Global Institute’s latest report assesses the number and types of jobs that might be created under different scenarios through 2030 and compares that to the jobs that could be lost to automation.
The results reveal a rich mosaic of potential shifts in occupations in the years ahead, with important implications for workforce skills and wages. Our key finding is that while there may be enough work to maintain full employment to 2030 under most scenarios, the transitions will be very challenging — matching or even exceeding the scale of shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing we have seen in the past.
We previously found that about half the activities people are paid to do globally could theoretically be automated using currently demonstrated technologies. Very few occupations — less than 5 percent — consist of activities that can be fully automated. However, in about 60 percent of occupations, at least one-third of the constituent activities could be automated, implying substantial workplace transformations and changes for all workers.
While technical feasibility of automation is important, it is not the only factor that will influence the pace and extent of automation adoption. Other factors include the cost of developing and deploying automation solutions for specific uses in the workplace, the labor-market dynamics (including quality and quantity of labor and associated wages), the benefits of automation beyond labor substitution, and regulatory and social acceptance.
Read the full report about the future of jobs, skills, and wages at McKinsey & Company.
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