The Future of Work in Europe: Back to School

Double dose of disruption

New research from McKinsey suggests that automation and the coronavirus crisis are likely to disrupt many occupations in Europe. They estimate some 51m jobs are at risk due to automation and 59m from COVID-19 to 2030, with a sizeable overlap of 24m jobs exposed to both developments.

Large overlap between jobs at risk from coronavirus crisis short term, and automation long term. @ McKinsey Global Institute

Jobs at risk of being done for

The wholesale & retail, manufacturing, accommodation & food services and construction sectors appear to be particularly exposed, with some 15m jobs at risk.

Jobs at risk by sector @ McKinsey Global Institute

Learn to earn: growth expected in high skills jobs

Some occupations are expected to show significant net job growth in the coming years, with STEM professionals (+4.0m net job growth to 2030), business and legal professionals (+3.9m), health professionals (+2.9m), managers (+2.3m) and education (+2.2m) showing significant potential. These occupations employ a relatively large share of highly educated workers.

Much of the pain is expected to sit in office support, production work and customer service & sales. The great majority of employees in these occupations have not completed tertiary education. 80% of the jobs flagged to be at risk (46m) are carried out by people not holding a tertiary degree.

Europe needs to create more training and career pathways

Education and training have a pivotal role to play in addressing the economic and social impact of this changing job market. Skills are likely to be a key factor in determining recovery from the coronovirus crisis and future prosperity.

Good quality schools, good access to tertiary (particularly STEM) and further education, and the commitment of governments, companies and individuals to ongoing skills development can all contribute to positive employment outcomes.

Re-design for the future

We have rightly seen emergency measures implemented across the World to keep our societies and economies afloat in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. This has come at a huge financial cost. With good reason, the emphasis so far has been to maintain the status quo, to minimise the economic and social chaos.

In the coming period we need to look critically at what the next generation of work will look like and to design interventions that prepare us for that future. This will likely be a job market demanding higher levels of education and skills, and where large numbers of people will need to transition from offices and shops to hospitals and schools for example. How do we organise ourselves for this change?

Best practices

I’m especially interested to learn about initiatives and best practices from institutions preparing for this transformation:

  • organisations that are re-skilling their workforce
  • schools and post-secondary institutions that are adjusting their offerings
  • successful companies that are offering services to close the skills gap
  • new education policies from governments that are intended to enable the transition to new work post-corona.

Feel free to reach out if you know of any great examples!

Looking forward >>

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