AI will create 133m new jobs by 2025, but not enough people to fill them
Artificial intelligence (AI) will create more jobs than its takes away, as well as bringing new efficiencies and profit making to enterprises. This is the conclusion of new research into the impact of AI on the global workforce, as well as the prevailing opinion in the market at large.
The World Economic Forum reckons 133 million new jobs will be created through deployment of AI tools by 2025, even as 75 million jobs are displaced. In sum, 58 million more jobs will be available within five years as a result of engaging machines in process driven tasks.
In the shorter term, a decline of 984,000 jobs and a gain of 1.74 million jobs – creating a net gain of 756,000 jobs – is expected in the next five years.
By 2025, over half of “task hours” in the workplace will be performed by machines, compared to 29 per cent today, according to its survey of top human resources officers and strategy executives from companies across 12 industries and 20 developed and emerging economies.
Nearly 50 per cent of companies expect their workforce to shrink by 2022 as a result of automation, 40 per cent expect their workforce to expand, generally, and a quarter expect automation to create new roles in their enterprise.
Europeans are most hopeful, it seems. A parallel study by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), covering the industrial sector in Europe, found two thirds of respondents reckon the positive impact of AI on job numbers will balance-out or outweigh the negative.
Respondents to the HPE survey, conducted with Industry of Things World expect to grow their revenues 11.6 per cent by 2030 as a result of AI adoption, while simultaneously increasing margins by 10.4 per cent.
The European industrial scene is well advanced with AI, it seems. Three in five (61 per cent) are already engaged with AI, and around a third of early adopters (11 per cent of all respondents) have implemented AI in core functions or activities.
Enterprises claims a 95 per cent success rate with AI implementations. On average, European companies will invest around a quarter of their total IT budget in AI initiatives, it said.
AI use cases spread across the value chain. Popular applications include for demand forecasting (21 per cent), production planning (18 per cent), operations (32 per cent), maintenance (34 per cent), and services (29 per cent).
In terms of its impact, 13.9 per cent of European industrialists expect to see cost reduction, 11.6 per cent expect revenue growth, and 10.4 percent expect margin increase.
But both reports claim enterprises face an urgent skills shortage.
The World Economic Forum said 54 per cent of employees of large companies would need significant re-skilling and up-skilling to harness the growth opportunities offered by the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
Half of companies plan to only train staff in key roles, it said; only one third plan to train at-risk workers. It puts “average skills instability” at 42 per cent. Declining roles and skills in one industry are growing in other industries, it said.
The travel and tourism sector fears the worst. Skills gaps are also a concern in the information and communication technology, financial services, and mining and metals industries.
Demand for data analysts and scientists, software and applications developers, and e-commerce and social media specialists will increase. Roles that leverage distinctly ‘human skills’.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said: “It is critical business take an active role in supporting their existing workforces through re-skilling and up-skilling, that individuals take a proactive approach to their own lifelong learning, and that governments create an enabling environment to facilitate this workforce transformation. This is the key challenge of our time.”
Volkhard Bregulla, vice president of global manufacturing, automotive and IoT at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, commented separately: “The European industrial sector has clearly understood and embraced the strategic power of AI – but it will be essential we close the data and skills gap to fully unleash its potential.”