The World Economic Forum (WEF) expects more jobs to be created than destroyed over the next 5 years. Image Credit: File photo

The World Economic Forum (WEF) expects more jobs to be created than destroyed over the next 5 years, a top official of the organization said.

“We are still overall cautiously optimistic … while the rate of job destruction is increasing and the rate of job creation is decreasing, when we look out to 2025 the outlook is still positive, we still expect slightly more jobs to be created than destroyed,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at WEF, during a virtual event.

Her remarks come a day after WEF launched its 2020 Future of Jobs report, which found that COVID-19 had caused the labour market to change “faster than expected”. The study found that by 2025, automation and a new division of labour between humans and machines will disrupt 85 million jobs globally across 15 industries and 26 economies.

“Proactive efforts today to rescale upskill and help transition workers from job A to job B - I think we can get there, but it is going to require those proactive efforts,” said Zahidi.

The report said that 97 million new roles will emerge across the care economy, in fourth industrial revolution technology industries like artificial intelligence, and in content creation fields.

There will be a surge in demand for workers who can fill green economy jobs, roles at the forefront of the data and artificial intelligence economy, as well as new roles in engineering, cloud computing and product development.

For those workers set to remain in their roles in the next five years, nearly 50 per cent will need reskilling for their core skills, the report found.

‘Disproportionate burden on women’

Hiring seem to be highly correlated with shutdowns, said Karin Kimbrough, Chief Economist at LinkedIn. “As we enter these waves of maybe more targeted shutdowns across Europe, in the US and elsewhere, it does kind of create speed bumps for the hiring pace.”

The COVID-19 lockdowns seem to be posing a “disproportionate burden” on women, said Kimbrough. “It’s just one of the things we noticed in the hiring rate is the impact on women when there are shutdowns - we saw this happen in March and April where women’s share of total new hiring just dropped by three to five percentage points globally,” she added.

The Linkedin Chief Economist noted that women were not applying for roles or changing jobs due to rising uncertainty in the marketplace. “Women seem to have lost a little bit of ground … every time we close down again we see women’s hiring take another step back … over time that accumulates and that’s worrisome.”