Artificial intelligence is expected to be adopted by nearly 75% of companies within the next five years, a World Economic Forum survey shows. 50% expect this to create job growth and 25% expect it to create job losses. The fastest-growing roles are driven by technology, digitalization and sustainability. The majority of the fastest growing roles are technology-related. A majority of companies will prioritize women (79%), youth under 25 (68%) and those with disabilities (51%) as part of their DEI programmes.
AI and Machine Learning Specialists top the list of fast-growing jobs, followed by Sustainability Specialists, Business Intelligence Analysts and Information Security Analysts. Renewable Energy Engineers, and Solar Energy Installation and System Engineers are relatively fast-growing roles, as economies shift towards renewable energy.
The survey comprises 803 companies collectively employing more than 11.3 million workers across 27 industry clusters and 45 economies from all world regions.
“Technology adoption will remain a key driver of business transformation in the next five years. Over 85% of organizations surveyed identify increased adoption of new and frontier technologies and broadening digital access as the trends most likely to drive transformation in their organization”, the Forum’s report says.
“Broader application of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards within their organizations will also have a significant impact.”
“The next most-impactful trends are macroeconomic: the rising cost of living and slow economic growth.”
Among the macrotrends listed, businesses predict the strongest net job-creation effect to be driven by the green transition of businesses, the broader application of ESG standards and supply chains becoming more localized.
Climate change adaptation and the demographic dividend in developing and emerging economies also rate high as net job creators.
Technological advancement through increased adoption of new and frontier technologies and increased digital access are expected to drive job growth in more than half of surveyed companies, offset by expected job displacement in one-fifth of companies.
Within technology adoption, big data, cloud computing and AI feature highly on likelihood of adoption. More than 75% of companies are looking to adopt these technologies in the next five years.
The data also shows the impact of the digitalization of commerce and trade. Digital platforms and apps are the technologies most likely to be adopted by the organizations surveyed, with 86% of companies expecting to incorporate them into their operations in the next five years. E-commerce and digital trade are expected to be adopted by 75% of businesses.
The second-ranked technology encompasses education and workforce technologies, with 81% of companies looking to adopt these technologies by 2027. The adoption of robots, power storage technology and distributed ledger technologies rank lower on the list.
“The impact of most technologies on jobs is expected to be a net positive over the next five years. Big data analytics, climate change and environmental management technologies, and encryption and cybersecurity are expected to be the biggest drivers of job growth”, the report says.
“Agriculture technologies, digital platforms and apps, e-commerce and digital trade, and AI are all expected to result in significant labour-market disruption, with substantial proportions of companies forecasting job displacement in their organizations, offset by job growth elsewhere to result in a net positive.”
All but two technologies are expected to be net job creators in the next five years: humanoid robots and non-humanoid robots.
The report says the human-machine frontier has shifted, with businesses introducing automation into their operations at a slower pace than previously anticipated.
“The fastest-declining roles relative to their size today are driven by technology and digitalization. The majority of fastest declining roles are clerical or secretarial roles, with Bank Tellers and Related Clerks, Postal Service Clerks, Cashiers and Ticket Clerks, and Data Entry Clerks expected to decline fastest.”
Large-scale job growth is expected in education, agriculture and digital commerce and trade. Jobs in the Education industry are expected to grow by about 10%, leading to 3 million additional jobs for Vocational Education Teachers and University and Higher education Teachers.
Jobs for agricultural professionals, especially Agricultural Equipment Operators, are expected to see an increase of around 30%, leading to an additional 3 million jobs.
Growth is forecast in approximately 4 million digitally-enabled roles, such as E-Commerce Specialists, Digital Transformation Specialists, and Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists.
The largest losses are expected in administrative roles and in traditional security, factory and commerce roles.
Surveyed organizations predict 26 million fewer jobs by 2027 in Record-Keeping and Administrative roles, including Cashiers and Ticket Clerks; Data Entry, Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks; and Administrative and Executive Secretaries, driven mainly by digitalization and automation.
Analytical thinking and creative thinking remain the most important skills for workers in 2023. Creative thinking will be growing in importance slightly more rapidly than analytical thinking. Technology literacy is the third-fastest growing core skill.