The Future of Jobs report 2018

[ From the Centre for the New Economy and Society ]

As technological breakthroughs rapidly shift the frontier between the work tasks performed by humans and those performed by machines and algorithms, global labour markets are undergoing major transformations. These transformations, if managed wisely, could lead to a new age of good work, good jobs and improved quality of life for all, but if managed poorly, pose the risk of widening skills gaps, greater inequality and broader polarization.

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution unfolds, companies are seeking to harness new and emerging technologies to reach higher levels of efficiency of production and consumption, expand into new markets, and compete on new products for a global consumer base composed increasingly of digital natives. Yet in order to harness the transformative potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, business leaders across all industries and regions will increasingly be called upon to formulate a comprehensive workforce strategy ready to meet the challenges of this new era of accelerating change and innovation.

This report finds that as workforce transformations accelerate, the window of opportunity for proactive management of this change is closing fast and business, government and workers must proactively plan and implement a new vision for the global labor market. The report’s key findings include:

• Drivers of change: Four specific technological advances—ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet; artificial intelligence; widespread adoption of big data analytics; and cloud technology—are set to dominate the 2018–2022 period as drivers positively affecting business growth. They are flanked by a range of socio-economic trends driving business opportunities in tandem with the spread of new technologies, such as national economic growth trajectories; expansion of education and the middle classes, in particular in developing economies; and the move towards a greener global economy through advances in new energy technologies.

• Accelerated technology adoption: By 2022, according to the stated investment intentions of companies surveyed for this report, 85% of respondents are likely or very likely to have expanded their adoption of user and entity big data analytics. Similarly, large proportions of companies are likely or very likely to have expanded their adoption of technologies such as the internet of things and app- and webenabled markets, and to make extensive use of cloud computing. Machine learning and augmented and virtual reality are poised to likewise receive considerable business investment.

• Trends in robotization: While estimated use cases for humanoid robots appear to remain somewhat more limited over the 2018–2022 period under consideration in this report, collectively, a broader range of recent robotics technologies at or near commercialization— including stationary robots, non-humanoid land robots and fully automated aerial drones, in addition to machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence— are attracting significant business interest in adoption. Robot adoption rates diverge significantly across sectors, with 37% to 23% of companies planning this investment, depending on industry. Companies across all sectors are most likely to adopt the use of stationary robots, in contrast to humanoid, aerial or underwater robots, however leaders in the Oil & Gas industry report the same level of demand for stationary and aerial and underwater robots, while employers in the Financial Services industry are most likely to signal the planned adoption of humanoid robots in the period up to 2022.

• Changing geography of production, distribution and value chains: By 2022, 59% of employers surveyed for this report expect that they will have significantly modified how they produce and distribute by changing the composition of their value chain and nearly half expect to have modified their geographical base of operations. When determining job location decisions, companies overwhelmingly prioritize the availability of skilled local talent as their foremost consideration, with 74% of respondents providing this factor as their key consideration. In contrast, 64% of companies cite labour costs as their main concern. A range of additional relevant factors—such as the flexibility of local labour laws, industry agglomeration effects or proximity of raw materials—were considered of lower importance.

• Changing employment types: Nearly 50% of companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce by 2022, based on the job profiles of their employee base today. However, 38% of businesses surveyed expect to extend their workforce to new productivity-enhancing roles, and more than a quarter expect automation to lead to the creation of new roles in their enterprise. In addition, businesses are set to expand their use of contractors doing task-specialized work, with many respondents highlighting their intention to engage workers in a more flexible manner, utilizing remote staffing beyond physical offices and decentralization of operations.

• A new human-machine frontier within existing tasks: Companies expect a significant shift on the frontier between humans and machines when it comes to existing work tasks between 2018 and 2022. In 2018, an average of 71% of total task hours across the 12 industries covered in the report are performed by humans, compared to 29% by machines. By 2022 this average is expected to have shifted to 58% task hours performed by humans and 42% by machines. In 2018, in terms of total working hours, no work task was yet estimated to be predominantly performed by a machine or an algorithm. By 2022, this picture is projected to have somewhat changed, with machines and algorithms on average increasing their contribution to specific tasks by 57%. For example, by 2022, 62% of organization’s information and data processing and information search and transmission tasks will be performed by machines compared to 46% today. Even those work tasks that have thus far remained overwhelmingly human—communicating and interacting (23%); coordinating, developing, managing and advising (20%); as well as reasoning and decisionmaking (18%)—will begin to be automated (30%, 29%, and 27% respectively). Relative to their starting point today, the expansion of machines’ share of work task performance is particularly marked in the reasoning and decision-making, administering, and looking for and receiving job-related information tasks.

• A net positive outlook for jobs: However this finding is tempered by optimistic estimates around emerging tasks and growing jobs which are expected to offset declining jobs. Across all industries, by 2022, growth in emerging professions is set to increase their share of employment from 16% to 27% (11% growth) of the total employee base of company respondents, whereas the employment share of declining roles is set to decrease from currently 31% to 21% (10% decline). About half of today’s core jobs—making up the bulk of employment across industries—will remain stable in the period up to 2022. Within the set of companies surveyed, representing over 15 million workers in total, current estimates would suggest a decline of 0.98 million jobs and a gain of 1.74 million jobs. Extrapolating these trends across those employed by large firms in the global (nonagricultural) workforce, we generate a range of estimates for job churn in the period up to 2022. One set of estimates indicates that 75 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labour between humans and machines, while 133 million new roles may emerge that are more adapted to the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms. While these estimates and the assumptions behind them should be treated with caution, not least because they represent a subset of employment globally, they are useful in highlighting the types of adaptation strategies that must be put in place to facilitate the transition of the workforce to the new world of work. They represent two parallel and interconnected fronts of change in workforce transformations: 1) large-scale decline in some roles as tasks within these roles become automated or redundant, and 2) large-scale growth in new products and services—and associated new tasks and jobs— generated by the adoption of new technologies and other socio-economic developments such as the rise of middle classes in emerging economies and demographic shifts.

• Emerging in-demand roles: Among the range of established roles that are set to experience increasing demand in the period up to 2022 are Data Analysts and Scientists, Software and Applications Developers, and Ecommerce and Social Media Specialists, roles that are significantly based on and enhanced by the use of technology. Also expected to grow are roles that leverage distinctively ‘human' skills, such as Customer Service Workers, Sales and Marketing Professionals, Training and Development, People and Culture, and Organizational Development Specialists as well as Innovation Managers. Moreover, our analysis finds extensive evidence of accelerating demand for a variety of wholly new specialist roles related to understanding and leveraging the latest emerging technologies: AI and Machine Learning Specialists, Big Data Specialists, Process Automation Experts, Information Security Analysts, User Experience and Human-Machine Interaction Designers, Robotics Engineers, and Blockchain Specialists.

• Growing skills instability: Given the wave of new technologies and trends disrupting business models and the changing division of labour between workers and machines transforming current job profiles, the vast majority of employers surveyed for this report expect that, by 2022, the skills required to perform most jobs will have shifted significantly. Global average skills stability—the proportion of core skills required to perform a job that will remain the same—is expected to be about 58%, meaning an average shift of 42% in required workforce skills over the 2018–2022 period.

• A reskilling imperative: By 2022, no less than 54% of all employees will require significant re- and upskilling. Of these, about 35% are expected to require additional training of up to six months, 9% will require reskilling lasting six to 12 months, while 10% will require additional skills training of more than a year. Skills continuing to grow in prominence by 2022 include analytical thinking and innovation as well as active learning and learning strategies. Sharply increasing importance of skills such as technology design and programming highlights the growing demand for various forms of technology competency identified by employers surveyed for this report. Proficiency in new technologies is only one part of the 2022 skills equation, however, as ‘human’ skills such as creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation will likewise retain or increase their value, as will attention to detail, resilience, flexibility and complex problem-solving. Emotional intelligence, leadership and social influence as well as service orientation also see an outsized increase in demand relative to their current prominence.

• Current strategies for addressing skills gaps: Companies highlight three future strategies to manage the skills gaps widened by the adoption of new technologies. They expect to hire wholly new permanent staff already possessing skills relevant to new technologies; seek to automate the work tasks concerned completely; and retrain existing employees. The likelihood of hiring new permanent staff with relevant skills is nearly twice the likelihood of strategic redundancies of staff lagging behind in new skills adoption. However, nearly a quarter of companies are undecided or unlikely to pursue the retraining of existing employees, and two-thirds expect workers to adapt and pick up skills in the course of their changing jobs. Between one-half and two-thirds are likely to turn to external contractors, temporary staff and freelancers to address their skills gaps.

• Insufficient reskilling and upskilling: Employers indicate that they are set to prioritize and focus their re- and upskilling efforts on employees currently performing high-value roles as a way of strengthening their enterprise’s strategic capacity, with 54% and 53% of companies, respectively, stating they intend to target employees in key roles and in frontline roles which will be using relevant new technologies. In addition, 41% of employers are set to focus their reskilling provision on high-performing employees while a much smaller proportion of 33% stated that they would prioritize at-risk employees in roles expected to be most affected by technological disruption. In other words, those most in need of reskilling and upskilling are least likely to receive such training.

There are complex feedback loops between new technology, jobs and skills. New technologies can drive business growth, job creation and demand for specialist skills but they can also displace entire roles when certain tasks become obsolete or automated. Skills gaps—both among workers and among the leadership of organizations—can speed up the trends towards automation in some cases but can also pose barriers to the adoption of new technologies and therefore impede business growth.

The findings of this report suggest the need for a comprehensive ‘augmentation strategy’, an approach where businesses look to utilize the automation of some job tasks to complement and enhance their human workforces’ comparative strengths and ultimately to enable and empower employees to extend to their full potential. Rather than narrowly focusing on automation-based labour cost savings, an augmentation strategy takes into account the broader horizon of value-creating activities that can be accomplished by human workers, often in complement to technology, when they are freed of the need to perform routinized, repetitive tasks and better able to use their distinctively human talents.

However, to unlock this positive vision, workers will need to have the appropriate skills enabling them to thrive in the workplace of the future and the ability to continue to retrain throughout their lives. Crafting a sound in-company lifelong learning system, investing in human capital and collaborating with other stakeholders on workforce strategy should thus be key business imperatives, critical to companies’ medium to long-term growth, as well as an important contribution to society and social stability. A mindset of agile learning will also be needed on the part of workers as they shift from the routines and limits of today’s jobs to new, previously unimagined futures. Finally, policy-makers, regulators and educators will need to play a fundamental role in helping those who are displaced repurpose their skills or retrain to acquire new skills and to invest heavily in the development of new agile learners in future workforces by tackling improvements to education and training systems, as well as updating labour policy to match the realities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Christine Haskell, PHD has built her practice on credible, published research and data. In the Research Series, you’ll find highlights, shareable statistics, and links to the full source material.

Robotic surgery

[ From the Mayo Clinic ]

Robot-assisted heart surgery

Robotic surgery, or robot-assisted surgery, allows doctors to perform many types of complex procedures with more precision, flexibility and control than is possible with conventional techniques. Robotic surgery is usually associated with minimally invasive surgery — procedures performed through tiny incisions. It is also sometimes used in certain traditional open surgical procedures.

About robotic surgery

Robotic surgery with the da Vinci Surgical System was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000. The technique has been rapidly adopted by hospitals in the United States and Europe for use in the treatment of a wide range of conditions.

The most widely used clinical robotic surgical system includes a camera arm and mechanical arms with surgical instruments attached to them. The surgeon controls the arms while seated at a computer console near the operating table. The console gives the surgeon a high-definition, magnified, 3-D view of the surgical site. The surgeon leads other team members who assist during the operation.

Christine Haskell, PHD has built her practice on credible, published research and data. In the Research Series, you’ll find highlights, shareable statistics, and links to the full source material.

The Challenge of Declining Dynamism

In a 2016 poll from the United States Senate, millennials overwhelming responded that entrepreneurship is essential to the economy, and they consider someone working at a startup a success. Yet when asked about the best way to achieve success, a majority chose employment at one company and working their way up as the best option. This conservative preference is not a coincidence. Millennials carry more student debt, face rising housing costs, and have less confidence about the future than previous generations.

In policy debates about the future of work, experts emphasize opportunity, training, and skills. They compartmentalize and therefore rarely mention the financial stability people need to explore those opportunities.

[ from The Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship United States Senate ]

This decline has far ­reaching implications. Americans are far less likely to start a company today than they were 30 years ago—far less likely to see starting a business as a pathway to realizing the American Dream. This corresponds with a series of other interrelated trends that point to a less dynamic future.

Americans today are also less likely to move to new areas of the country. They are less likely to switch jobs. The average company is rapidly getting older. Industry sectors are seeing widespread consolidation. Historically, the churn caused by a steady influx of new businesses has acted as a kind of shock absorber for our economy. This is no longer the case. Even as the global economy has undergone massive transformations driven by technology and globalization, the U.S. economy is rapidly becoming less flexible, less able to adapt, and less efficient at allocating resources—including its most precious resource: human capital.

These changes are felt most acutely in those parts of the country that have fallen behind and are struggling to replace lost industries and millions of middle class jobs. As a result, a rising tide of geographic inequality separates millions of Americans from the economic gains of the national recovery, as fewer areas than ever are carrying the bulk of overall U.S. economic growth.

The consequences are dire. A less entrepreneurial America is one with increasingly limited opportunities to realize the American Dream.

Today’s policymakers will decide if our economic future belongs to the incumbents, or if we will instead renew the entrepreneurial spirit that has fueled American dynamism from the very beginning.

Thought Series: 3 Lessons Business Leaders Can Learn From Master Craftsmen & Women

Thought Series provides actionable ideas and anchors for reflection on your life or your work.


Trade and craftsmanship are inextricably linked. We develop skills and learn to perform to a standard. We aim to be skilled in our respective trades. That said, most people will agree there is something sacred about true craftsmanship. Why is craftsmanship so rare? What can we do to cultivate craftsmanship?

There is, I believe, a craftsman in all of us. Everyone has untapped creative potential. Whether we’re talking about a stone carver or a paradigm shifting business leader it’s human nature to conclude that those who demonstrate unusual gifts owe their success to an almost magical quality that you’re either born with or you’re not: talent.

How we spend our time and what problems we choose to labor over says a lot about how we approach the idea of work. Moving an idea in any medium—working with raw materials or through people—is hard, but it is a battle that can be won through disciplined effort, focused attention, and obsession over a particular problem you feel drawn to solve. In fact, real-world problem-solving is most strongly linked to higher self-reported work quality. When your trade is in service of your craft, you elevate your work.

While the skills you bring matter, few of us ever reach the limits of our natural abilities. Instead what holds us back is a lack of commitment or a lack of focus. “Inspiration,” Picasso said, “needs to find you working.” Such advice often overwhelms us and makes us yearn for the recipe, standards, templates or blueprints to success. Showing up counts for a lot, because it deepens your ability. Effort matters.

But there is another component necessary to achieving true craftsmanship—preoccupation with your subject. Only when we are internally driven does effort combine with skill to manifest as achievement. In other words, it takes effort to get good at something. It takes effort to apply that skill, to create. But it takes obsession to hang in there for the long haul.

If you look at any master craftsman or admired business leader’s life story, for instance, they don’t begin by displaying savant- like brilliance at an early age. Clothing designer Eileen Fisher did not start out with the stores she has today. She started with a single rack of samples at a New York design show, “and it was a disaster.” In fact many craftsmen struggled. Several leaders experienced painful failures. What distinguishes their approach to their craft is that they regard the struggle to learn as part of the privilege of their craft. They work hard to make a difference and choose work that is worthwhile to them.

Rather than chasing a different dream each week or month or year, you need – at least eventually – to settle on a higher calling and never let go. Drive and determination, combined with single-minded direction, is what elevates your work.

Many people think that once you find your “thing” maintaining interest is easy—that it no longer feels like work. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book Flow discusses the nature of work as complete absorption in what one does. While all masters and mentors referred to being in a “zen-state” or “meditative state” this mindset needs to be actively cultivated.

Interest and motivation are not fixed. They need to be nurtured and developed, much like learning a new language. Here are three steps from my latest research on master craftsmen and business leaders that you can take to develop yourself and level up your work – and begin to live and work with craftsmanship.



When you start a class or a job for the first time, you step in to a world where you don’t yet know the rules. This new environment has a particular ecosystem, with values, beliefs, procedures, and social dynamics that you have yet to learn. You do not yet know how to navigate the power structure, what passes for good work, or conventions for communicating with others. Your goal as you enter is to examine.

A common mistake is to “hit the ground running” in a way where you feel you have to prove yourself. If you are constantly seeking external validation and worrying about impressing others, you miss two things: nuances in the environment, and the ability to evaluate your own work. Early compliments can quickly become fickle, relying on them will lead you astray. Take time to understand the reality of where you are, how things work, and where you fit in best. If you want to impress others, it should be because of how serious you are about learning, not because you are trying to get promoted before you are ready.

Master craftsmen and admired business leaders have a preoccupation with a subject or concern. I refer to this as their inner compass (because it guides their awareness) and nothing will stop them in pursuit of this higher goal. How can you find yours if you don’t have one already?

There are two kinds of examining you are looking to do: internal and external. Mine your life. With what have you been and are you continually fascinated?

Second, observe and examine the system around you. Learn the rules that govern the system, understand “the way things are done.” Whether a craftsman or leader, these lessons are both spoken and unspoken, and a reflection of core values and beliefs. In business, you uncover these values by observing how successful people are recognized on the way up and how less fortunate people are treated while they struggle on the way down.

After taking in the rules of the system, it’s important to learn where the power lies. How does communication flow through the system? Who claims power and who actually has it? Who is moving up and who it moving down?

Last, what sparks you most about the environment you are in? Where do you find the most meaning in what you do?

By exploring these concepts, you can start to understand how things function, connect more effectively to your inner compass, and find your place in ecosystem. The importance of this step is to train you to examine every system you find yourself in so you can avoid costly mistakes. It is always best to look before you leap. And, you can’t effectively navigate the system unless you know it.



After you’ve been in your role for a while, you come up on the next principle of learning—choosing tools and acquiring skills. For some jobs, like operating a machine that always performs the same action, the skills you need to learn are obvious. Other jobs require more of a mix between physical and mental skills, like stone cutting or observing and collecting nature specimens to inspire a felting project. Still other jobs are vaguer, like working with and through people or examining research. Whatever the need, your goal is to make your learning simple, to understand what matters for you to become proficient, and what needs ongoing practice.

First, it is important to start with a single skill you can master. This creates your learning foundation. This will increase your focus and deepen your concentration.

Second, it is important to manage your frustration with setbacks. Challenges in learning are predictable. Anticipating early struggles, frustrations, resistance, and the fickleness of new commitment can help you better prepare. These things cannot be avoided when learning something new, no matter how motivated we are to attain mastery. The only way is through.

Marc Sokol, Editor of Human and People Strategy Magazine, commented on the nature of perseverance:

People say the key to being an entrepreneur is perseverance. Well, guess what? 

Successful entrepreneurs and unsuccessful entrepreneurs are often just as persevering. But, successful entrepreneurs figure out when adapt, and unsuccessful entrepreneurs don’t.

There’s a cognitive difference and a readiness-to-pull-the-cord difference, as opposed to optimism and perseverance.

This practice of skill is best understood by considering the greatest learning-by-doing model ever created: the apprenticeship. Given how little information was available in the Middle Ages, apprentices learned through observation, imitation, and repetition. Certainly their hands-on learning amounted to much, much more than the 10,000 hours needed to learn a skill. It’s not just engaging in a domain for thousands of hours. You have to change how able you are to do something. Anders Ericcson refers to this as deliberate practice. The cathedrals, castles, and walls are powerful examples of craftsmanship and engineering. Accomplished without the benefit of blueprints or books to describe them, and the result of engaging in the smallest of tasks, they represent the accumulation of skills and knowledge of several generations.

Learning through observation, practice, and repetition has a long history. We learned to hunt, forage, make tools long before we could speak. Even if the task is purely mental in nature, like learning a foreign language or computer programming, our like brains like the routine of learning by doing. In other words, reading-theories-doesn’t-make-perfect, practice makes perfect.



Operate on the boundary of what you can, and cannot do. The shortest and most critical part of the learning process is taking all of the skills you’ve acquired and actually putting them to the test—literally. A map can only get you so far. Sooner or later, you are going to need to evaluate your environment, rely on your gut, and use your judgment pm what direction to take.  Experimentation could mean that you step up and take more responsibility which invites more criticism of your work. Ari experimented each time he applied his current skills toward opening a new business. Master ceramicist Louise Pentz experimented her way through a sculpture by creating and destroying her way through it. She explains her process:

You have to make a lot of mistakes. You’re hoping for the mistakes, because that is usually where things are most exciting. Too much control and the outcome loses some of its essence. It ends up just like everyone else’s outcomes. Average. Within the norm. Mainstream.

Often when I create a piece I’ll build it and it will be good, but not very exciting. It’s good, technically, but I wonder ‘how I can give life to this piece?’

I start to break it apart. I might hit or punch the clay with a stick or I’ll rip a piece off of the side. All of those gestures make the piece stronger and better in my eyes.

Through working an idea, editing, and experimentation, you start to gauge your own practice, develop your own standards. You learn to take a stand in the presence of others’ judgments. In pursuit of ongoing development, you seek constructive feedback.


Inner awareness and observation help guide us so that we do not need to be told what to do. Gaining new skills through deliberate practice helps us develop the ability to accept feedback and introduces us to standards. Seeking new experiences, we decide if it would be easier and safer to operate within a template, to do what we’re told, and to stay within our comfort zone—or if we feel the compulsion to forge ahead.

Like attempting the high dive for the first time, freedom is deeply attractive as well as terrifying. We are confronted with the question: Who would we be if we were truly free? There are surprising ways to access moments of freedom regardless of circumstance and it often results by initiating action before you think you are ready—just like taking the leap off of that first high dive.

You’ve completed your apprenticeship in a particular skill when there isn’t anything left to know in this environment. Your experiments no longer make you uneasy. Things become more or less predictable. Where to go next? Go deeper, find a niche, or both. By finding your true calling, honing your craft through dedicated deliberate practice, and responding to setbacks with an optimistic, problem-solving approach, you will follow in the footsteps of the many outstanding Mentors and Masters I have studied, all of whom are characterized by that mix of awareness, skill development, and practice.

To believe that only a lucky few are born with true talent, while the rest of us are not, is demoralizing. You might understandably wonder whether the focus on craftsmanship simply shifts this concern to a different trait: that perhaps a rare few are blessed with innate talent for superior work while us lesser mortals are destined to weaker will and an absence of meaningful work. In fact, studies suggest that mastery and achievement are not inherited traits, but abilities requiring cultivation. The common factor in people that live and work with craft is how they deliberately practice and change themselves and engage in very goal-directed practice activities. This leaves plenty of room for the rest of us to be influenced by other factors such as life experiences and deliberate cultivation.