MARKET | May 1, 2017

Work? It is not the same as it once was

How will the world of work change from here to 2020? What skills will be required?

65% of children attending primary school today will be doing a job that does not yet exist. This is the prediction of “The Future of Jobs”, a research study presented at the World Economic Forum in January 2016 which tries to outline the change in work from here to 2020. Speaking about the future that awaits us, Massimo Canducci was also of the same opinion.

In short, nobody knows how and if May 1 – or Labor Day – will be celebrated in 2050. What is certain is that the change is already happening and it cannot be stopped.

Over the next 5 years, it will not only be technology (starting with mobile, cloud and big data) but also social and demographic factors such as the growth of flexible work that will influence work. This is what the HR managers from 350 of the world’s largest companies who took part in the research study and represent about 13 million employees in 15 of the world’s major nations (including China, India, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and USA) say.

Remaining in the technology sector, the drivers of change that will most affect the world of work are mobile and cloud (34%), Big Data and the possibility of analyzing them (26%), and IoT (14%), but also crowd-sourcing and the sharing economy (12%).

Some jobs will be lost to others: there will be 2 million new jobs compared with 7 which will disappear. Suffering the consequences of change most will be mainly administrative and production jobs with 4.8 and 1.6 million less in favor of other areas such as finance, management and ICT. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make an impact, although respondents believe that these technologies will be decisive starting from 2020. It is interesting to note that the sharing economy will potentially modify the way of working and organizing in a positive and profound way.

Changing the world of work will naturally also change the skills and abilities being sought: by 2020, problem solving will be the soft skill that will be all the rage, along with critical thinking and creativity showing an upward trend compared with 2015.

What will be the relationship between Big Data and new professions?

An Adecco Group survey on Big Data and the Professions of the Future, which involved more than 300 Italian company representatives, highlighted the needs of the labor market in terms of “Big Data professionals”.

The professionals most sought by companies will include the Big Data Analytics Specialist (63.64%), followed by Data Content & Communication Specialist (38.64%), Big Data Architect (32.95%) and Data Scientist (29.55%). These are all figures that are difficult to find on the market (54.76%) or non-existent (42.86%) today, according to respondents.

To bridge the gap is what is already a real demand for professionals which does not find an adequate response, most of the sample interviewed say they see a possible solution in the ability to launch partnerships between academia and the business world (73.08%), but also by defining courses of study that can cultivate the skills of the future (41.03%) as well as sharing opportunities and best practices with universities abroad (17.95%).

Will we achieve this objective? We will find out only by living it, as someone would have sung. In the meantime, happy Labor Day.

Sonia Montegiove