Robots taking our jobs? Stop agonising and take action to skill up for the jobs of the future

New study forecasts only one in five workers are in occupations that will shrink; lays out blueprint for reskilling workers

Pearson, in partnership with Nesta, and in collaboration with researchers from the Oxford Martin School, today released a report entitled “The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030.” The study takes an entirely new approach to forecasting employment and skill demands in the US and UK. In contrast to many recent headlines, the study finds that many jobs today will still be in demand by 2030 and beyond. However, while jobs may remain, the skills needed for success are changing.

For the first time ever, researchers combined diverse human expertise with active machine learning to produce a more nuanced view of future employment trends. Using this innovative approach, the study forecasts that only one in five workers are in occupations that face a high likelihood of decline.

The research also forecasts one in ten people are highly likely to experience a rise in demand for their job. The remaining roughly 70per cent of workers are in jobs where there is greater uncertainty about the future: these workers can boost their prospects if they can invest in the right skills. Rather than “doom and gloom”, the findings show how we can take action to help more people prepare for the future.

Across both the US and the UK, the occupations forecast to most likely experience a rise in employment are associated with education, health care and wider public sector occupations.

In the US, however, confidence in the growth of health-care occupations, traditionally defined, is lower than might be expected given the size of the industry and the aging of the population, perhaps reflecting political uncertainties related to US health care policy.

Creative, digital, design, and engineering occupations are also found to have bright outlooks in both countries. Decline in employment is forecast to take place in occupations related to transportation and traditional manufacturing.

Knowledge areas such as English language, history, philosophy and administration and management are all generally associated with occupations forecast to see a rise in workforce share. By contrast, STEM-related knowledge areas such as science and technology design will find use only in particular occupations.

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