"COVID-19 has accelerated the arrival of the future of work. Accelerating automation and the fallout from the COVID-19 recession has deepened existing inequalities across labour markets and reversed gains in employment made since the global financial crisis in 2007-2008. It’s a double disruption scenario that presents another hurdle for workers in this difficult time," said WEF managing director Saadia Zahidi in a news release.
Zahidi warned that "the window of opportunity for proactive management of this change is closing fast," indicating that business, government and workers must urgently work together to "implement a new vision for the global workforce."
According to the WEF, automation and a division of labor between humans and machines will take away 85 million jobs globally by 2025. The technology revolution will, concurrently, generate 97 million new jobs in areas like artificial intelligence, content creation, cloud computing and a sustainable economy.
Humans will "retain their comparative advantage" in managing, advising, decision-making, reasoning, communicating and interacting, the report says.
Almost half of those set to retain their jobs in the next five years will need new skills and this process will require the coordinated effort of government and business, particularly in light of the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected low-skilled workers, the findings show.
The report also suggests that remote work is here to stay, but will require adaptation.
As of Tuesday, over 40,650,000 cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been registered worldwide, with the death toll at 1,122,036, according to data collated by the Johns Hopkins University.