While the global workforce will need to adapt to automation and machine learning, there could be new opportunities available for older workers.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are about to change the way we learn.
A recent Forbes Coaches Council report comprising firsthand insights from top business leaders around the globe show that, as certain roles begin to be phased out we are likely to see new roles emerge. This will require people to continuously learn, adapt, and incorporate new learning into their daily lives if they want to keep up.
A new study conducted by the Boston University School of Law and initially published in the Harvard Business Review comprising of data collected over 16 years from 36,000 firms in the Netherlands and covering about 5 million workers each year, shows that highly-paid workers are more commonly affected than low-paid workers by the introduction or expansion of automation. However, the repercussions of automation are more severe on the lives of those low-paid workers that are affected by automation.
Although automation does not always equate with mass layoffs or over-the-top fears of plant closures, spikes in automation correspond to the loss of earnings and work, the study shows.
This is corroborated by recent research conducted by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which states that 14 percent of jobs performed by humans are vulnerable while another 32 percent of jobs will see workers need significant upskilling or reskilling due to automation.
Upskilling an aging population
While automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are on the cusp of changing the globe, the average number of people over the age of 80 has increased sevenfold. A study by the World Health Organization (WHO) on global aging and health shows that for the first time in history, the world will have more humans over the age of 65 than those under the age of five.
What could the combination of emerging digital and social trends mean for the way older generations learn and work?
A “long-term” solution
Lifelong learning is not an option anymore; it’s quickly becoming a necessity as workers strive to stay relevant. Whether it is employers investing in upskilling their employees through internal training, educators constantly challenging the boundaries of full-time and distance education, or organizations investing in smart solutions to cut costs and increase efficiency – there are plenty of innovations reshaping the traditional education template.
However, online learning and an improvement in educational technology is not in itself the answer. There is a need for hybrid long-term solutions, that combine online learning with face-to-face interaction a Barclays “Beyond 100: Whitepaper” indicates.
This means that while the global workforce will need to accommodate and adapt to automation and machine learning, there could be new opportunities available for older workers.
According to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurship, there are now more new entrepreneurs in the U.S. above the age of 45 (51 percent) than those under the age of 45. Also, the proportion of new entrepreneurs age 55 to 64 has increased from 15 percent to 26 percent between 1996 and 2016, while new entrepreneurs between the ages of 20 to 34 have considerably decreased.
“The traditional three-stage life – learning in childhood and adolescence, working throughout adulthood and spending our older years in retirement – could be completely redefined by the next generation,” the Barclays whitepaper states.
A longer, healthy life could mean that people can switch between learning and working in a more flexible manner. It also means that the global workforce could be shaped by freelancers and flexible workers of all ages.