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The A.I. Paradox

How robots will make work more human

We have teamed up with Oxford Economics to examine the impact technology will have on the labor market as existing job tasks are automated. By modeling the shifts in the nature of work across 800+ jobs, we are able to determine which industries are most vulnerable to automation and where new employment opportunities will arise.

Turning insights into action

We wanted to better understand how rapid technological change could impact the future of work in the next 10 years. Informed by this and other research, we are able to turn insight into action through our evolving programs, grants, and services to empower a human network of Global Problem Solvers focusing on how digitization and innovation can maximize inclusion. 

New jobs emerge as existing jobs are automated

Despite concerns that technology will displace workers, history and our research shows new jobs emerge as existing jobs are automated.  What we can expect in the future is a shift in the nature — and potentially the quality — of work:

  • By evaluating which occupations are most vulnerable to automation, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), we can determine the types of skills workers will need to transition to new jobs
  • With awareness of the technical and human skills shortfalls workers must bridge, policymakers —including educators, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and government — can focus their human capital development efforts to smooth the transition

Balancing displacement with productivity

In line with historical trends over the last 20 years, our employment forecast is a balancing of the “displacement effect” caused by technology countered by a top-down “income effect” as industry harnesses the power of technology to improve productivity.

Significant transformation ahead for U.S. workers

4.3 million workers — 3% of the total workforce — will be displaced

An additional 2.2 million workers will be disrupted

There will be a total of 6.5 million job moves by 2027

Real job opportunities lay ahead

Our research does not forecast large-scale unemployment. Rather, it predicts a labor market that is reconfigured:

  • Displaced workers will have real opportunities to continue to add value by filling vacancies elsewhere in the economy, but only if they can bridge the relevant skills gap required by their new occupations
  • Our report models the moves these 6.5 millions workers may make. By comparing the skills requirements of their current occupations to their new occupations in 2027, we can measure the skills shortfall they need to bridge to thrive

The rise of human skills

It is the rise in demand for human skills that ultimately helps define the transition to the 2027 labor market. Human skills embody workers’ ability to make the best use of technological innovations on a large scale and how to adapt to the changing needs of the market:

  • Workers whose core purpose is critical or creative thinking and making human connections will thrive
  • These workers will define themselves by their ability to use and work creatively with technology, rather than compete against it
  • It is the development of these human skills that constitutes the greater reskilling challenge: 32% of the total skills gap facing the U.S. economy by 2027 is in human skills

The U.S. faces a significant reskilling challenge

Through this research, policymakers, the private sector, nonprofit organizations, and educators can understand where the skills shortfalls will be:

  • They can then focus their human capital development efforts to equip those in jobs and those displaced by new technologies with the skills that will matter most in the coming decade
  • In this way, we can make the most of the opportunities technological progress presents
  • When we empower people to become global problem solvers and prepare them with the right skills, we help them participate in the global economy and create economic opportunity for all

Oxford Economics is a leader in global forecasting and quantitative analysis for business and government. It is one of the most trusted resources for decision-makers seeking independent thinking and evidence-based research.