Khalaf Al Habtoor Urges Governments and Educators to Take Serious Measures to Reduce the Impact of Automation Following a McKinsey Report

02 May 2018
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor

I would like to thank the McKinsey & Company team who issued a Global Report on the impact of Automation on the future jobs market. I was briefed by my team on its findings.

The report raises valid points about the job market post 2030. It warns that in some sectors, like agriculture and manufacturing, an estimated 400 to 800 million people could be displaced by automation.

We need to take the findings into consideration to avoid massive job losses in the future. I feel that, if the advice is unheeded then global poverty could be on the rise.

I would like to urge Universities and educators to better prepare our children and grandchildren for the future job market.

The McKinsey & Co report highlights the pros and cons of automation, artificial intelligence and the implementation of robots. The report says there will be significant benefits for business; such as improved productivity and economic growth.

But I am concerned for humanity in general. Skilled people could lose their livelihoods if they are not prepared for change. An engineer or doctor cannot change professions at the click of a finger.

We need to make sure that people have the right skills for the future. We need to prepare our youth, and ensure they are trained properly so they can use their skills practically.

The report talks about a major displacement of the global workforce, with many people needing re-employment. We need to take this seriously. We must prepare our young people to learn skills that will be relevant for the future. They need to have practical skills, not just academic qualifications that they cannot do anything with.

We also need to make sure that highly-qualified people can transition their skills in the new world ahead. If not, they will be unable to get a job.

The report says that even with automation, the demand for workers could increase as economies grow because of automation. I hope so. But we have to be cautious and make sure we have the skills required to adapt.

McKinsey & Co says that major transitions lie ahead. It says that 14 per cent of the global workforce, or up to 375 million people, will need to switch occupational categories by 2030. This is easier said than done in my opinion.

I urge world governments, educators and employers to ensure that their employees are prepared for change. This means we need to support them, re-educate them, and provide them with the necessary training to enable them to stay employed.

We have to embrace technology, but not to the detriment of the human race. I urge everyone to think how the future world could impact their job choice, so you can start adapting for the future, to ensure that you have a future in this advancing world.

Jobs losses would likely be in roles that are susceptible to automation, like physical jobs, like labour, or ones in predictable environments like operating machinery or preparing fast food, collecting and processing data. Jobs where automation will have a lesser effecting including managing people, applying expertise, anything with social interaction.

I would like to stress the warning from McKinsey that if displaced workers are not employed quickly, countries will face rising unemployment and depressed wages.

Thank you.

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