The Future of Jobs Report 2018

… I object

Recently the World Economic Forum (WEF) published its report "The Future of Jobs 2018" and offers online a short overview by Ratcheva and Leopold (17 Sep 2018).

I strongly object to the findings referring to declining skills.

Five things to know

Ratcheva's and Leopold's article sums up five points:

  1. Automation, robotization and digitization look different across different industries
  2. There is a net positive outlook for jobs – amid significant job disruption
  3. The division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms is shifting fast
  4. New tasks at work are driving demand for new skills
  5. We will all need to become lifelong learners

On one hand point 5 claims that people have to become lifelong learners and on the other hand the figure in point 4 describes basic skills that people need to be creative et cetera as declining skills [in the WEF Report: p 12, Table 4: Comparing skills demand, 2018 vs. 2022, top ten].


The need for basic skills …

I oppose: people can not assume the ten growing skills the report describes, such as analytical thinking, active learning, creativity, critical thinking - to name a few, if they can not read, write, and have memory, verbal and auditory abilities.

Without a foundation the building will collapse. It's the same with skills. Beside the huge amount of subject literature I just want to cite Eve Marder from Brandeis University

Creativity in science requires the ability to recall information and data, and will suffer if we rely too much on technology to remember things for us. (https://elifesciences.org/articles/30599)

… to foster needed future skills

This applies not only to scientists but also to other professionals and people in general. Thus I hope that stakeholder in economics, education, science, public administration and government will not only continue but intensify the measures  to enable people, especially children and the youth, to acquire and develop basic skills.

Skills like reading, writing, math and thereby memory, verbal and auditory abilities. Then creativity and other future necessary skills can grow.

To the growing skills The Future of Jobs Report 2018 I agree. So: we have to consider both and to perform a challenging and ongoing task in learning, teaching and the shaping of jobs.

Christa Weßel - Friday, 21 September 2018



Blog sections higher education and organization development and social informatics

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