On the eve of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the leaders of the world economy outlined the job of the future based on three possible scenarios – automation as an optimisation channel, machine cooperation and digital workforce transformation. These three different options have materialised in some professional profiles. Moreover, even if some of these are only a labour market niche, others are rapidly climbing a peak in a context that keeps changing. The Future of Jobs 2018 report provides a roadmap from now to 2022. This research involved managers and entrepreneurs from 313 global companies (none of them Italian) that employ more than 15 million workers between them.
Before drawing up the list, it is useful to provide data on current trends. According to the World Economic Forum report, there are four main change drivers, and they are all technology related. There is the widespread presence of super-fast mobile internet, artificial intelligence, the growing adoption of big data analysis tools and the use of cloud computing. Obviously, these drivers must work with external conditions (growth of national GDP, expansion and improvement of education, increase of the middle class, etc.) which, in turn, will determine a social, economic and political impact.
Despite this, 85% of respondents are virtually certain that by 2022 will have adopted the technologies mentioned. The introduction of robotisation (static, therefore without humanoids running around the office) will be slower (from 23 to 37% depending on the sector considered). The consequences of these new processes will lead to a change in production geography (50% of companies will change their headquarters over the next four years while 59% will act on the value chain to make distribution and production more effective), 74% of respondents will look for talent from the most interesting communities and 64% will search for cheaper markets. For those who will remain in their own area, change will be the working hours and the employees’ duties. 38% of the managers interviewed will see an overall strengthening of the workforce by assigning a greater amount of tasks to machines (from 29 to 58% of worked hours), releasing resources to launch new opportunities. The future labour market assessment is positive – the growth of emerging professions will increase by 11%.
The four main change drivers are technology related due to a widespread presence of super-fast mobile internet, artificial intelligence, the growing adoption of big data analysis tools and the use of cloud computing
What are these new emerging professions?
At the top of the Top 10 is the data analyst and scientist. This professional figure investigates new data archives to discover recurring and significant trends to construct interpretation and calculation models based on software adaptable to different devices and situations. This is often carried out by relying on the experience of the second emerging professional figure – the AI and machine-learning specialist. These are the people who "teach" the machine how to learn. Given a series of raw data, this professional can give the right access codes to a software which autonomously scans them and understand which are valid. This means a great time and energy saving for the human operator.
In third place, we find the general and operation manager. It is a role that glues the different specialisation areas, knows their specific aspects and how to put them into the system by producing operational standards, management policies, and systems etc. In the fourth place is the big data and the digital transformation specialist. These ensure the company that hires them is always supplied with data and reports which can be used for research, strategic decisions, technological and infrastructural implementations.
Below the Top five, we find the sales and marketing professional or sales agent 2.0. This is the person who optimises a product’s sales processes acting as an intermediary between producer and customer making sure that everyone has the necessary information for the item’s best positioning.
Next are the new technology and organisational development specialists, two supporting roles within the company. The technology specialist handles the maintenance and functioning of the company’s technological system. The organisational development specialist solves human resource organisational and training issues. The ranking ends with software and application developer analyst, who deals with the online corporate telecommunication systems application equipment and IT service.
These names are not easy to remember, but will soon dominate the future employment world.