One of President Donald Trump‘s biggest challenge in office is fulfilling his promise to create 25 million new jobs in America. Unfortunately, the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Future of Jobs Report outlines some important factors that may impede the growth of employment in the future. As steam picks up in the engines of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the odds are against President Trump echoing the words of John Henry, “That machine can’t beat me!”
The WEF report explores the potential impact that this industrial revolution will have on individuals’ careers and offers perspective on how they can prepare for a career in such an environment. Awareness, or lack of it, seems to be at the heart of the report. According to the WEF, “Many of the major drivers of transformation currently affecting global industries are expected to have a significant impact on jobs, ranging from significant job creation to job displacement, and from heightened labor productivity to widening skills gaps…In such a rapidly evolving employment landscape, the ability to anticipate and prepare for future skills requirements, job content and the aggregate effect on employment are increasingly critical for businesses, governments, and individuals in order to fully seize the opportunities presented by these trends – and to mitigate undesirable outcomes.”
The drivers of change putting us on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution include technological advances in “artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing, and biotechnology.” The WEF informs us of demographic and socio-economic factors disrupting the economy as well. However, technology is the main disruptor. The report states that by 2020 industrial changes to the global economy will be considerable due to technology.
There are skeptics though who “do not believe that these technologies will have advanced significantly enough by the year 2020 to have a widespread impact on global employment levels.”
Barriers exist hindering awareness too of the Fourth Industrial Revolution seems to be that 51% have insufficient understanding of the disruptive changes ahead. This may explain why some institutions have mishandled their strategies concerning the magnitude of these upcoming economic changes. This information should present several questions of intrigue for President Trump. Let’s ask a few.
- Has the president considered how these factors impact his job creation plan strategy?
- What programs will his administration institute to help train or provide continuing education to enhance employee skills in light of these issues?
- Can the unemployed be helped to learn the technological skills needed to compete in a changing global economy?
- Are expensive higher education costs a deterrent to the development of the future skills employees need?
- What can be done about student debt to encourage more individuals to invest in an education?
- How can the human resources industry help facilitate these changes?
Whether President Trump can create new jobs depends on the answers to these questions and the solutions that come out of them, otherwise, the Fourth Industrial Revolution seems intent on steamrolling the global workforce and economy. Individuals must also do their part by taking control of their career planning and development to survive, and thrive, the impending landscape.
These last two excerpts from the WEF report provide a sobering reality check for individuals, and underscores the importance of awareness and career planning:
- “Not anticipating and addressing such issues in a timely manner over the coming years may come at an enormous economic and social cost for businesses, individuals and economies, and societies as a whole.”
- “Without urgent and targeted action today to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with future-proof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and business with a shrinking consumer base.”
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