The Future of Jobs in 2018: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Future of Jobs in 2018: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The World Economic Forum recently published a research paper on the Future of Jobs focusing on the changes to come between 2018 and 2022. The research points to some major changes that are going to affect the South African workforce.

The overarching cause is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is now well underway. The WEF predict that many job roles will become redundant, but that more new jobs will be created. This can result in a net increase in employment available. However the skills of these jobs will be very different to what we see today.

Below we will look at the main factors and what you can do to protect your future;

The Bad

There is going to be an increase in machines doing jobs that are currently being done by humans. This is due to the changing nature of technology, business, and production. Previously we saw factories being automated in the Second Industrial Revolution. This time around we are going to see more administrative processes automated. Among the jobs at risk are;

  • Data Entry Clerks
  • Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
  • Administrative and Executive Secretaries
  • Business Services and Administration Managers
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • Financial Analysts
  • Cashiers and Ticket Clerks
  • Electronics and Telecommunications Installers and Repairers
  • Sales and Purchasing Agents and Brokers
  • Door-To-Door Sales Workers, News and Street Vendors, and Related Workers
  • Statistical, Finance and Insurance Clerks

The above list is a portion of those given by the WEF and they also include a list of stable roles as well as a list of new jobs that are likely to be in demand.

A complete eradication of these types of jobs is unlikely. However the trends indicate that a growing percentage of the tasks will be done by machine. This is set to continue,meaning fewer posts of this nature will be available.

Also Read: Looking for an Admin job? Read this.

The Ugly

Given that the type of skills in demand is going to change; education and training is the clear solution. The ugly news in this regard is that most companies expect the initiative to come from the employees themselves. Of those who said they would retrain existing employees, the focus is likely going to be on those least in need of the reskilling. In other words, those who require less training will be trained.

The skills gap will be met by the companies hiring outside contractors or new staff who meet the criteria. Realistically, if you don’t keep up to date with your skills, you could be made redundant. Once redundant, if you don’t improve your skill set, you may stay that way.

This is quite a scary outlook. You need to look out for yourself.

The Good

The WEF predict that there will be a net increase of 58 million jobs globally. They did not predict region specific which means we can’t say for certain if South Africa will benefit from that. Some of the new jobs are not specific to a region, meaning that many remote tasks can be done across borders.

This is great news for the freelance economy in South Africa. It may suit international companies to hire you in South Africa if you have the skills that companies will be looking for, and that job can be done remotely. You can work in the comfort of your own home and earn foreign currency.

You should get to grips now with what new skills you may need. Your options look pretty good if you get suitably equipped for the future jobs in demand;

  1. Your employer could select you to be up-skilled and you retain your employment
  2. You could be made redundant but find work elsewhere
  3. You could participate in the freelance and contract market which is also set to increase.


If you have read this article up to this point, you are aware of the need to improve your skills in the future. Now is the time to act and be ahead of the curve when the industrial revolution starts to really get going.


Source: The Future of Jobs Report 2018 – WEF

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