Research Spotlight: The Future of Work (pt2)
Continuing The Future of Work by McKinsey & Company, we discover the unintended consequences of automation that include a shift in the mix of occupations, the percentage of who needs to adopt new careers, and how companies can facilitate this shift. Read the entire report here.
“The mix of occupations may shift, with little job growth in low-wage occupations.”
According to the McKinsey & Company report, “Compared to our pre-COVID-19 estimates, we expect the largest negative impact of the pandemic to fall on workers in food service and customer sales and service roles, as well as less-skilled office support roles. Jobs in warehousing and transportation may increase as a result of the growth in e-commerce and the delivery economy, but those increases are unlikely to offset the disruption of many low-wage jobs. In the United States, for instance, customer service and food service jobs could fall by 4.3 million, while transportation jobs could grow by nearly 800,000. Demand for workers in the healthcare and STEM occupations may grow more than before the pandemic, reflecting increased attention to health as populations age and incomes rise as well as the growing need for people who can create, deploy, and maintain new technologies.”
“As many as 25 percent more workers may need to switch occupations than before the pandemic.”
McKinsey & Company adds, “Given the expected concentration of job growth in high-wage occupations and declines in low-wage occupations, the scale and nature of workforce transitions required in the years ahead will be challenging, according to our research. Across the eight focus countries, more than 100 million workers, or 1 in 16, will need to find a different occupation by 2030 in our post-COVID-19 scenario…This is 12 percent more than we estimated before the pandemic, and up to 25 percent more in advanced economies…Before the pandemic, we estimated that just 6 percent of workers would need to find jobs in higher wage occupations. In our post-COVID-19 research, we find not only that a larger share of workers will likely need to transition out of the bottom two wage brackets but also that roughly half of them overall will need new, more advanced skills to move to occupations one or even two wage brackets higher.”
“Companies and policymakers can help facilitate workforce transitions.”
Data recommending a career change is little consolation to low-wage workers looking at empty refrigerators, gas tanks, and bank accounts. Fortunately, investors at every level of employment have a positive role to fill. McKinsey & Company offers, “The scale of workforce transitions set off by COVID-19’s influence on labor trends increases the urgency for businesses and policymakers to take steps to support additional training and education programs for workers. Companies and governments exhibited extraordinary flexibility and adaptability in responding to the pandemic with purpose and innovation that they might also harness to retool the workforce in ways that point to a brighter future of work. Businesses can start with a granular analysis of what work can be done remotely by focusing on the tasks involved rather than whole jobs. They can also play a larger role in retraining workers, as Walmart, Amazon, and IBM have done. Others have facilitated occupational shifts by focusing on the skills they need, rather than on academic degrees. Remote work also offers companies the opportunity to enrich their diversity by tapping workers who, for family and other reasons, were unable to relocate to the superstar cities where talent, capital, and opportunities concentrated before the pandemic.” Business and the workforce are changing. Is your company up to the challenge?
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