Number of the Day Shows Job Losses From Automation

Our take on the most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance today

Number of the Day

That’s how many jobs around the world may be lost to automation by 2025 as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates trends that were already underway, the World Economic Forum estimates. 

The jobs most at risk include data entry clerks, secretaries, bookkeepers, auditors, and factory workers, WEF researchers said in their latest The Future of Jobs Report, released this week. While the number is daunting, the WEF predicts 97 million new jobs may be created during the same time frame, in areas like data analysis, science, machine learning, software development, and information security.

“Although the number of jobs destroyed will be surpassed by the number of ‘jobs of tomorrow’ created, in contrast to previous years, job creation is slowing while job destruction accelerates,” WEF researchers wrote, saying there is a new urgency to “expand social protection, including support for retraining to displaced and at-risk workers.”   

The WEF looked at jobs in medium and large businesses across 15 industries in 26 economies. The findings are based on a survey of almost 300 global employers conducted during the first half of 2020, and an analysis of jobs and skills trends. Forty-three percent of companies surveyed plan to reduce their current workforce because of further automation, while 34% plan to expand their current workforce for the same reason. 

The long-predicted surge in robots and artificial intelligence is one reason behind efforts to create universal basic income programs, which would shield workers from the worst effects of this disruption to employment. Support for such programs has gained momentum during the pandemic.