Complex Made Simple

Be prepared: 400 million could lose their jobs in 10 years

The job market is rapidly changing. With new technologies like Blockchain entering our lives, and automation technology evolving, you could stand to become unemployed in around 10 years.

So how can you prepare ahead of the job market apocalypse?

The stakes are great

Management consulting company McKinsey estimates that 400 million jobs could be lost to automation by 2030. That’s approximately 15% of the world’s jobs.

At this point, any position replaceable by automation is fair game. From factory workers to office and transportation employees, many stand to lose big time.

Even driverless cars, which could save 10 million lives per decade, will likely mean millions of people will lose their jobs.

Hisham Elaraby, Regional Director at Udacity MENA, is here to tell you how to prepare.

Educate yourself and beat the automation trend

(Hisham Elaraby, Regional Director, Udacity MENA)

When jobs are lost, others are created, and the key to those jobs is education. Elaraby’s company, Udacity, provides just that.

“In a world marked by rapid technological advancement, more and more companies all across the hiring landscape are embracing digital transformation initiatives, and this is leading them to look anew at the talent within their own ranks,” he told AMEinfo. “This is why we work directly with hundreds of different companies who are investing in their employees by proactively offering opportunities to reskill and upskill through online tech education.”

His company, Udacity, is an online education platform that aims to democratize education through the offering of world-class higher education opportunities that are accessible, flexible, and economical to millions around the world.

Virtually anyone with an internet connection can come to Udacity to learn a suite of job-ready tech or tech adjacent skills, and pursue rewarding employment.

While the job loss to job creation ratio is not very encouraging, it still offers a glimmer of hope for those who are willing to re-educate and retrain themselves.

“According to McKinsey, there will be an estimated global shortfall of up to 40 million educated, high-skilled workers and 45 million medium-skilled workers in 2020,” Elaraby noted. “It further expects 8% of the global labor demand will come from new jobs that don’t even exist yet by 2030.”

“These are all issues that Udacity aims to solve,” he said. “For example, we actively matchmake our graduates with potential employers.”

READ: What are the 10 Jobs that are safe from smart automation?

A potential solution to MENA unemployment?

Elaraby cited recent research by noting that 60% of the MENA population is under the age of 25. “Yet,” he stated, “youth unemployment is twice as high as the world average, and the digital economy is currently at 4% of GDP, only half of what it is in the US and other markets.”

“The job market will increasingly place a premium on ongoing worker knowledge and training. Accordingly, the demand for us all to be lifelong learners will only intensify,” he continued. “This represents a chance to transform an entire generation – and an entire region – by connecting the desire to learn, with the opportunities to succeed.”

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), online talent platforms in the MENA region “have the potential to create significant benefits by moving people from informal to formal jobs, by increasing workforce participation and additional hours worked of those formerly under-employed or inactive, by shortening the duration of job searches and by enabling matches that would otherwise not have happened.”

This is a solution Udacity is hoping to contribute to.

“By 2025, this could result in as much as 945,000 additional full-time equivalent jobs and a $21 bn increase in GDP in Egypt, 799,000 jobs and $41 bn in Turkey, and 276,000 jobs and $32 bn additional GDP in Saudi Arabia,” the WEF continued.

READ: Technology, automation to define future of road transport in GCC

The skills of the future

Currently, Udacity’s most popular programs include data analysis, web and mobile development, and digital marketing. Elaraby also revealed a few fast-growing subjects, like Cybersecurity and Blockchain development.

Blockchain in particular holds massive potential.

“There is a lot of buzz around this area, and for good reason,” Elaraby highlighted. “From a technology angle, the Blockchain industry is on track to become a $16 billion industry within the next 7 years. But, more important is the impact this technology will have on the rest of the industries. The efficiency and reliability of Blockchain technology is capable of creating additional value for businesses worth $176 billion by 2025.”

However, Elaraby explained that Blockchain is not a phenomenon that is happening outside of the region that will eventually trickle down here. MENA, and Dubai in particular, is taking on a global leadership role in the deployment of blockchain technology, he revealed.

“Smart Dubai has a goal to increase government efficiency by transferring 100% of applicable government transactions to the Blockchain network,” he said. “And it’s doing so by supporting startups and creating new Blockchain-based business models.”

Elaraby went on to shed light on a trendsetting Dubai startup that is leading blockchain development in the Gulf nation.

“An example of a startup is Avanza, which has built a blockchain-powered payment and reconciliation system developed with the Dubai Department of Finance,” he continued. “This is not a proof of concept or a pilot, it’s a fully live blockchain application!”

With technological progress on an unstoppable march, many jobs will be lost in its wake – there’s no way to prevent that. The fallout, however, could be mitigated, if employees are future-oriented in their career outlook. Re-education and new training is the key, and companies like Udacity make this a possibility.

READ: Q & A: CEO of Badir Program on incubating startups