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Brace yourselves for another industrial revolution. Robots could replace an estimated 5 million jobs around the world in the next four years, a new report claims.
The report, put out by the World Economic Forum (WEF), finds that more than 5 million jobs will be lost by 2020 as a result of developments in robotics, genetics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology, to name just a few.
“We are on the cusp of a Fourth Industrial Revolution,” WEF founder Klaus Schwab and managing board member Richard Samans said in “The Future of Jobs.” About 7 million jobs will be lost and 2 million gained as a result of technological change in 15 major developed and emerging economies.
The projections by the WEF, which is holding its annual meeting in the Swiss ski resort town of Davos this week, are taken from a survey of 15 economies covering about 1.9 billion workers, or about 65 percent of the world’s total workforce.
The assessment highlights the challenges posed by modern technologies that are automating and making redundant multiple human tasks, from manufacturing to healthcare.
“To prevent a worst-case scenario,” the report’s authors said, “reskilling and upskilling of today’s workers will be critical. While much has been said about the need for reform in basic education, it is simply not possible to weather the current technological revolution by waiting for the next generation’s workforce to become better prepared.”
The "Future of Jobs" report concludes that jobs will be lost in every industry with the biggest losses likely to be in healthcare, followed by energy and financial services.
Women will be the biggest losers, the report finds, as their jobs are often concentrated in low-growth or declining areas such as sales, office and administrative roles.
While men will see approximately one job gained for every three lost over the next five years, women face more than five jobs lost for every one gained.