​WEF predicts winners and losers of "fourth industrial revolution"

The World Economic Forum has released a report detailing its prediction on how the four drivers of the next industrial revolution will affect the global workforce in the coming years


The World Economic Forum has released a report detailing many of its predictions regarding how the impending "fourth industrial revolution" would impact the global job market. With the rapid progression of technological advancements, the report both illuminated the growing possibilities for digital natives in the new job market, as well the potentially negative impact on what have historically been considered "safe bet" jobs.

The Future of Jobs Survey 2018 report listed the four pieces of emerging technology it believes will be the most significant economic drivers of the new industrial revolution: high-speed mobile internet; AI; widespread adoption of big data analytics; and cloud technology.

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The increased utilization of these technologies will fuel business innovation between 2018–22 and, along with current global socioeconomic trends, will lead to growth in developing nations' economies, increased education opportunities and the expansion of middle classes all around the world. The report also posited that progress in renewable energy tech will also begin to push the world toward a greener global economy.

Trends set to impact business growth positively/negatively up to 2022, top ten

Source: Future of Jobs Survey 2018, World Economic Forum

However, the report recognized that other current global trends such as the increasing popularity of protectionist regimes and the resulting instability in governmental policies along with cyber threats, the worsening effects of climate change and the aging societies of the developed world, will all be expected to have negative impacts on global business growth.

It also mentioned that with widespread industrial adoption, the IoT will be facilitated by the other aforementioned emerging tech, resulting in startups focused on machine learning, VR and AR seeing increased business investment. The report also cited Bain & Company's Labor 2030: The Collision of Demographics, Automation and Inequality, which predicted that "cobots" – robots created to work alongside humans to help them increase productivity – will also see greater prevalence and investment.

Technologies by proportion of companies likely to adopt them by 2022 (projected)

Source: Future of Jobs Survey 2018, World Economic Forum

The report acknowledged the complex cause and effect nature that new technological advances has on job markets and economy. While significant opportunities would be created by these advancements, entire roles could become displaced by the desire to make gains through increasingly cheaper automation capabilities. Without effective mechanisms in place to aid in the retraining of labor forces to fill new skill gaps among both workers and leadership roles, these advancements may end up impeding business growth.

The report admitted, however, that these mechanisms still "remain elusive" in industries and regions across the world. It concluded by saying it would take a cooperative and agile mindset from both company leaders and workforces to find new ways to reimagine and push the limitation of the jobs we have today "as part of a comprehensive workforce strategy for the fourth industrial revolution".

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