The human race certainly is racing! As we round the bend at breakneck speed into the fourth industrial revolution, also variously known as the era of advanced digitisation, artificial intelligence or cyber-physical systems, leaders in every context are adapting to a whole new host of macro-economic trends that are changing the way we live and work.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) publishes a bi-annual Future of Jobs report on the changing nature of the global workforces. In 2023 respondents reported that over a third (34%) of all business-related tasks are performed by machines; and predicted that over the following five years this number would increase to almost half business-related tasks (42%). Over the same period, 23% or almost a quarter of jobs as they exist at the time of writing, will disappear completely. Conceivably, within the next ten years, more tasks will be completed by machines than by humans.
Concurrently, millions of new jobs will be created. The WEF reports the impact of technologies on jobs is expected to be net positive over the next five years. Climate change driving the green transition of businesses, the application of Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) standards and localisation of supply chains is another macrotrend predicted to deliver a net positive impact on job creation. Our global and societal challenge is upskilling workforces quick enough to meet new job demands, and reskilling workers whose jobs will disappear
The changing nature of the job market, combined with post COVID recovery has driven global talent shortages to an all-time high. In a 2023 study by global staffing firm ManpowerGroup, 77% of employers globally reported difficulty finding the talent they need, making it the highest reported talent shortage in 17 years, more than doubling from 35% in 2013.
The skills gap is real, it’s widening, and it’s being felt everywhere – from small regional towns to large metro cities in just about every industry.
While governments and educational institutions can play their part, the onus is on businesses, and more specifically, people in businesses to upskill, reskill, offer more flexibility and adopt hybrid models where workers can be part of virtual teams, distributed work units or remote workforces.
In simple terms – we need great teams where learning is prioritised and potential is realised. We need to activate the collective pool of intelligence of our existing workforces and realise their full potential to not just meet the demands of today but prepare for the change of tomorrow. This is not just a government challenge; this is a challenge for the business sector, education institutions, and communities everywhere.
We need to treat the process of learning and performing at work as simultaneous activities, because the place where adults do most of their learning is on-the-job, in and between teams. While formal education, training and coaching (virtual or otherwise) have their place in transferring bite sized parcels of skills and knowledge, it’s through the daily practice of having a go, getting feedback, stuffing it up and trying again; with the support of teammates; where learning actually takes place.
Our capacity to adapt to these changing global market forces comes down the individuals and teams who are adopting new technologies, implementing ESG strategies, dealing with cybersecurity breaches, addressing supply chain issues, adapting to the rising cost of living and responding to changing customer demands.
Individual and organisational success depends not just on hiring great people, but on how well those people show up and combine their talents to learn, problem solve, innovate, test, and adapt. The place where each one of us can succeed in the current climate of rapidly advancing change is right at home, in our very own teams.
If you want to learn more about how to activate team intelligence – reach out for a chat, or sign up for one of my free information sessions.
 Fastest growing roles are technology related roles: AI and Machine Learning Specialists, Sustainability Specialists, Business Intelligence Analysts, Information Security Analysts, Renewable Energy Engineers, Solar Energy Installation and System Engineers. WEF Future of Jobs Report May 2023, p.6.
 Fastest declining roles are clerical or secretarial roles: Bank Tellers, Related Clerks, Postal Service Clerks, Cashiers, Ticket Clerks, and Data Entry Clerks. WEF Future of Jobs Report May 2023, p.6.