As highlighted throughout this report, the drivers of change are revolutionising the employment landscape including the what, where and how much of work.
The transformation of jobs through technology is particularly gathering pace (see technology). Jobs in sectors such as manufacturing and agriculture (which a century and a half ago employed well over half the workforce) now account for less than 10% and are declining. Today, and into the future, technological developments and increased productivity will create new jobs. But will there be enough to maintain existing employment levels, let alone increase them? (see emerging themes – labour market)
New jobs that were unknown just a few years ago include: data analyst; cyber-security specialist; geneticist; social media influencer; digital marketing executive; and fact checker. In contrast, the future looks bleaker for those in jobs such as: sales assistant; driver (taxi, lorry, courier); call centre operator; and many more. Even “knowledge” jobs are under threat nowadays with the advance of technology in the delivery of professional services. For example, there has been huge investment and rapid development of technology in financial services and the legal and medical sectors (Fintech, LegalTech and MedTech respectively).
Advances in genetics, pharmaceuticals and other life sciences will create jobs, particularly with increased investment in these fields following the pandemic (see role of the state – state intervention). Urgent steps to address the climate emergency will generate other types of work (see sustainability).
Demographic change, with people living longer, will result in increased demand for health and care professionals (see demographics).
Greater state intervention can create work in the way it regulates society (see emerging themes – regulation; see role of the state – politics).
Advances or reverses in globalisation can either create new work or threaten existing jobs at a local level, most significantly in the area of logistics (see globalisation). Domestic migration might be a threat to city-centre jobs and those employed in transporting commuters, but new jobs will be created locally to where people live (see migration).
The overriding question is whether the number of new jobs will be adequate to replace the ones that are lost.