Roles in artificial intelligence (AI) are set to be the fastest-growing job type in the next five years, according to new research.
The explosion of interest in AI in recent months, thanks to the release of tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney, has raised concerns about how the world of work is going to be affected by this new technological revolution.
Economists and work experts are trying to predict which jobs are most at risk, and what sort of new jobs are going to be created. The World Economic Forum chimed in with its Future of Work report on Monday, detailing which jobs are going to be the fastest growing over the next five years, and which are going to be in the fastest decline.
Unsurprisingly, AI and machine learning specialists were at the top of the fastest-growing job types. That was followed by sustainability specialists, business intelligence analysts, and information security analysts.
On the other end of the scale, clerks who work in banks and other similar settings are set to see their jobs dry up the fastest, according to the report.
Postal service workers, cashiers, and data entry clerks are also jobs that are going to be in rapid decline.
14 million jobs on the line
The WEF’s Future of Jobs report is based on survey data covering the expectations for the next five years of some of the world’s largest employers. There were 803 companies collectively employing more than 11.3 million workers involved in the survey, spanning 27 industries and 45 economies from all world regions.
It details how employers are anticipating 69 million new jobs to be created, and 83 million to be scrapped, which comes to a 2 per cent decrease in current employment, or 14 million jobs. The report credits this decrease to economic challenges including high inflation, slower economic growth, and supply shortages.
In terms of highest absolute job losses, data entry clerks fare the worst, with an expected 8 million job losses within five years, followed by administrative and executive secretaries, and accounting, bookkeeping and patrol clerks. These three occupations combined account for more than half of total expected job destruction, the Future of Jobs 2023 report notes.
Advancing technology adoption and increasing digitisation will meanwhile cause the biggest labour market churn, and will be a net positive for job creation. More than three-quarters of the companies surveyed are planning to adopt big data, cloud computing, and AI technologies in the next five years.
But the technological revolution is also the culprit for many of the expected job losses. Online banking is highlighted as a service that has increasingly led to the closure of bank branches, and bank tellers can expect to see a 40 per cent decline in the next five years.
Automation, sensor technology, and online services are also reducing the need for postal service clerks, cashiers, ticket office clerks, and data entry workers, occupations which are all expected to decline by more than a third.
“In 2023, labour-market transformations driven by technological breakthroughs, such as the coming of age of generative artificial intelligence (AI), are being compounded by economic and geopolitical disruptions and growing social and environmental pressures,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum in her preface to the report.
“After widespread instability in the last three years across the world of work, we hope the outlook provided in this report will contribute to an ambitious multi stakeholder agenda to better prepare workers, businesses, governments, educators and civil society for the disruptions and opportunities to come, and empower them to navigate these social, environmental and technological transitions”.
Here are the 10 fastest-growing, and fastest-declining jobs, according to WEF’s research.
10. Digital transformation specialists
9. Agricultural equipment operators
8. Electrotechnology engineers
7. Robotics engineers
6. Data Analysts and engineers
5. Fintech engineers
4. Information security analysts
3. Business intelligence analysts
2. Sustainability specialists
1. AI and machine learning specialists
10. Door-to-door sales workers and related
9. Statistical, financial and insurance clerks
8. Legislators and officials
7. Accounting, bookkeeping and payroll clerks
6. Material-recording and stock-keeping clerks
5. Administrative and executive secretaries
4. Data entry clerks
3. Cashiers and ticket clerks
2. Postal service clerks
1. Bank clerks and related
Sustainability jobs on the rise
Global efforts to decarbonise industries, as the world tries to fight climate change, will see a marked increase in sustainability jobs in the near future, the report states.
Some 30 million jobs could be created in clean energy, efficiency and low-emissions technology by the end of the decade.
But questions are raised about how all these new workers are going to get the skills they need. Employers surveyed estimated that around 44 per cent of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years, with cognitive skills like complex problem-solving seen as the most important.
Six out of 10 workers are going to need training before 2027 for this upskilling, but only half of workers are seen to have access to appropriate training opportunities right now.
One of the key skills many of the companies want to teach their employees is how to work with AI, which is expected to be adopted by nearly 75 per cent of the companies. Half of them expect AI to create job growth, while 25 per cent expect it to create job losses.