The future of work in 2050 – too few jobs or too few workers?
The discussion around the impact of AI on jobs and work has been accelerated by the emergence of new generative AI models that are set to transform work and society. In our own Making AI work for Britain report, techUK set out nine actions for the UK to prepare people and businesses to thrive in the AI-enabled economy, including driving investment in skills and lifelong learning. We also noted that the future labour market is hard to predict and emphasised positioning the UK to be responsive to tech-powered changes by resourcing and staffing the AI Central Function.
In their highly relevant report, The Future of Work Hub, an initiative by Lewis Silkin LLP, explores what the future labour market might look like and takes a look ahead to discuss whether a world of work with too few jobs or too few workers is likely to emerge by 2050.
Although it also concludes that there are too many uncertainties to be too confident about the future shape of the labour market, it suggests that there is a real possibility that, by 2050, economies such as the UK will face a labour market with too few jobs for the available workers.
The report presents a balanced and nuanced view of the possible scenarios of the future world of work, acknowledging the uncertainties and challenges as well as the opportunities and benefits.
Looking at predictions from across the technology landscape, the report forecasts:
- A growth in jobs requiring caring or social interaction skills, particularly in the health and caring sectors.
- In other sectors, jobs will remain but potentially will be fewer, or change significantly, as humans and machines increasingly collaborate and work alongside each other.
The report's conclusions echo our calls for increased investment in the new and evolving skills required in the years ahead – "a necessary investment regardless of whether there are too few jobs or workers".
Future of Work
The future of work is changing. Technology is powering a growth in flexible work across the economy, whilst emerging technologies such as robotics and AI are set to become common place. techUK believes the UK must consider the implications of digital transformation in the world of work now, equipping people and businesses across the country with the skills and conditions needed to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the 4IR.