Last Updated on July 26, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Title: The COVID-19 Pandemic Accelerates Job Transformation and Highlights the Role of Strategic Hiring
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only reshaped the global economy but has also expedited the job transformation process already set in motion by automation. A recent study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute has revealed that nearly 9 million workers switched occupations between 2019 and 2022, representing a 50% increase compared to the previous three years.
The most significant job changes were observed in low-wage positions within food services, customer service, office support, and production. On the other hand, higher-paying roles in science, technology, health care, business, legal, and management experienced growth during this period.
According to projections, by 2030 an additional 12 million workers will transition into different occupations, resulting in a 25% increase in occupational shifts compared to prior predictions. This trend suggests a continuing decline in low-wage positions and an increase in higher-paying professional roles.
It is important to note that while automation, accompanied by generative artificial intelligence (AI), is hastening the transformation, it is expected to reshape professional jobs rather than eliminate them. Rather than replacing workers, generative AI empowers them to focus on more creative and higher-level tasks.
To adapt to this changing labor market, the need for increased training programs and new hiring practices is paramount. The COVID-19 pandemic has further expedited the decline of customer-facing jobs, as more consumers shift towards e-commerce and remote work reduces the need for office employees.
By 2030, employment in certain roles, such as clerks, retail associates, administrative assistants, and cashiers, is projected to decline due to the repetitive nature of these tasks, making them susceptible to automation. Despite recent increases in low-wage job openings, this is primarily due to workers leaving these fields and fewer people replacing them.
Meanwhile, positions offering managerial and professional jobs with salaries exceeding $57,000 per year have grown by approximately 3.5 million since the pandemic began. However, it remains unclear how many of these higher-paying roles were filled by existing workers transitioning within their industries versus new entrants to the labor force.
Harnessing the potential of generative AI will contribute to the acceleration of automation, impacting a wider range of jobs, including professional, technical, and managerial positions. However, instead of posing a threat to employment, this technological advancement enables workers to engage in more creative and complex tasks.
Projections suggest that automation, driven by generative AI, will account for 29.5% of total working hours by 2030, surpassing previous estimates of 21.5%. This technology-driven transformation is expected to boost productivity and foster a burgeoning economy, creating new opportunities for emerging occupations.
To ensure a smooth transition in this evolving labor market, workers need to receive appropriate training to secure better jobs. Additionally, it is crucial to connect skilled workers to job opportunities across different regions of the country.
In response to these changes, employers are encouraged to evaluate candidates based on their capacity to learn, intrinsic capabilities, and transferable skills rather than exclusively focusing on credentials. This shift in hiring practices will enable companies to tap into a wider talent pool and cultivate a dynamic workforce suited for the demands of the future.
As the world continues to evolve, it is imperative that individuals and organizations adapt to the changing job landscape, embracing automation and generative AI as tools to drive growth and innovation in the coming decade.