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Automation Will Require New Job Skills, Report Warns

Millions of workers will have to adapt to changes in technology

Automation Jobs

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The report finds that some older adults already struggle to keep up with ever-changing technology.

Hundreds of millions of jobs worldwide will be transformed by automation by 2030, compelling workers to adapt to a shifting set of employment opportunities, according to a new report covering 46 countries that was prepared by the research arm of McKinsey & Co., a business-consulting firm.

The report renews concerns about workers' ability to obtain the skills needed for future jobs. This is especially true of older adults, who are already struggling to keep up with the ever-changing technology. But the report comes with assurances that new jobs will spring up as current ones fade away.

“We estimate that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world, based on our midpoint and earliest (that is, the most rapid) automation adoption scenarios,” the report states.

“We think demand for jobs will be there,” the researchers added. “However, people will need to find their way into these jobs.”

The task will be daunting, possibly sidelining many workers and leading to lower pay. “The workforce transitions ahead will be enormous,” the report states. “We estimate that as many as 375 million workers globally (14 percent of the global workforce) will likely need to transition to new occupational categories and learn new skills, in the event of rapid automation adoption. If their transition to new jobs is slow, unemployment could rise and dampen wage growth.”

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