The Future Of Jobs And Education

The world of work has been changing for some time, with an end to the idea of jobs for life and the onset of the gig economy. But just as in every other field where digital transformation is ongoing, the events of 2020 have accelerated the pace of this change dramatically.

The International Labor Organization has estimated that almost 300 million jobs are at risk due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of those that are lost, almost 40% will not come back. According to research by the University of Chicago, they will be replaced by automation to get work done more safely and efficiently.

Particularly at risk are so-called “frontline” jobs – customer service, cashiers, retail assistant, and public transport being just a few examples. But no occupation or profession is entirely future proof. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), even tasks previously reserved for highly trained doctors and lawyers – diagnosing illness from medical images, or reviewing legal case history, for example – can now be carried out by machines.

At the same time, the World Economic Forum, in its 2020 Future of Jobs report, finds that 94% of companies in the UK will accelerate the digitization of their operations as a result of the pandemic, and 91% are saying they will provide more flexibility around home or remote working.

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If you’re in education or training now, this creates a dilemma. Forget the old-fashioned concept of a “job for life,” which we all know is dead – but will the skills you’re learning now even still be relevant by the time you graduate?

One thing that’s sure is that we’re moving into an era where education is life-long. With today’s speed of change, there are fewer and fewer careers where you can expect the knowledge you pick up in school or university to see you through to retirement. MORE FOR YOUThese Are The World’s Best Employers 2020The Value Of Resilient LeadershipEmployers Must Act Now To Mitigate The Impacts Of The Pandemic On Women’s Careers

All of this has created a perfect environment for online learning to boom. Rather than moving to a new city and dedicating several years to studying for a degree, it’s becoming increasingly common to simply log in from home and fit education around existing work and family responsibilities.

This fits with the vision of Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of online learning platform Coursera. Coursera was launched in 2012 by a group of Stanford professors interested in using the internet to widen access to world-class educational content. Today, 76 million learners have taken 4,500 different courses from 150 universities, and the company is at the forefront of the wave of transformation spreading through education.

 “The point I focus on,” he told me during our recent conversation, “is that the people who have the jobs that are going to be automated do not currently have the skills to get the new jobs that are going to be created.”

Without intervention, this could lead to an “everyone loses” scenario, where high levels of unemployment coincide with large numbers of vacancies going unfilled because businesses can’t find people with the necessary skills.

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The answer here is a rethink of education from the ground up, Maggioncalda says, and it’s an opinion that is widely shared. Another WEF statistic tells us 66% of employers say they are accelerating programs for upskilling employees to work with new technology and data.Models of education will change, too, as the needs of industry change. Coursera is preparing for this by creating new classes of qualification such as its Entry-Level Professional Certificates. Often provided directly by big employers, including Google and Facebook, these impart a grounding in the fundamentals needed to take on an entry-level position in a technical career, with the expectation that the student would go on to continue their education to degree level while working, through online courses, or accelerated on-campus semesters.

“The future of education is going to be much more flexible, modular, and online. Because people will not quit their job to go back to campus for two or three years to get a degree, they can’t afford to be out of the workplace that long and move their families. There’s going to be much more flexible, bite-sized modular certificate programs that add up to degrees, and it’s something people will experience over the course of their working careers,” says Maggioncalda.

All of this ties nicely with the growing requirements that industry has for workers that are able to continuously reskill and upskill to keep pace with technological change. It could lead to an end of the traditional model where our status as students expires as we pass into adulthood and employment.

Rather than simply graduating and waving goodbye to their colleges as they throw their mortarboards skywards, students could end up with life-long relationships with their preferred providers of education, paying a subscription to remain enrolled and able to continue their learning indefinitely.

“Because why wouldn’t the university want to be your lifelong learning partner?” Maggioncalda says.

“As the world changes, you have a community that you’re familiar with, and you can continue to go back and learn – and your degree is kind of never really done – you’re getting micro-credentials and rounding out your portfolio. This creates a great opportunity for higher education.”

Personally, I feel that this all points to an exciting future where barriers to education are broken down, and people are no longer blocked from studying by the fact they also need to hold down a job, or simply because they can’t afford to move away to start a university course.

With remote working increasingly common, factors such as where we happen to grow up, or where we want to settle and raise families, will no longer limit our aspirations for careers and education. This could lead to a “democratization of education,” with lower costs to the learner as employers willingly pick up the tab for those who show they can continually improve their skillsets.

As the world changes, education changes too. Austere school rooms and ivory-tower academia are relics of the last century. While formal qualifications and degrees aren’t likely to vanish any time soon, the way they are delivered in ten years’ time is likely to be vastly different than today, and ideas such as modular, lifelong learning, and entry-level certificates are a good indication of the direction things are heading.

You can watch my conversation with Jeff Maggioncalda in full, where among other topics, we also cover the impact of Covid-19 on building corporate cultures and the implications of the increasingly globalized, remote workforce. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website.

Bernard Marr

 Bernard Marr

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organisations improve their business performance, use data more intelligently, and understand the implications of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchains, and the Internet of Things. Why don’t you connect with Bernard on Twitter (@bernardmarr), LinkedIn (https://uk.linkedin.com/in/bernardmarr) or instagram (bernard.marr)?

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World Economic Forum

The Future of Jobs report maps the jobs and skills of the future, tracking the pace of change. It aims to shed light on the pandemic-related disruptions in 2020, contextualized within a longer history of economic cycles and the expected outlook for technology adoption, jobs and skills in the next five years. Learn more and read the report: wef.ch/futureofjobs2020 The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change. World Economic Forum Website ► http://www.weforum.org/ Facebook ► https://www.facebook.com/worldeconomi… YouTube ► https://www.youtube.com/wef Instagram ► https://www.instagram.com/worldeconom… Twitter ► https://twitter.com/wef LinkedIn ► https://www.linkedin.com/company/worl… TikTok ► https://www.tiktok.com/@worldeconomic… Flipboard ► https://flipboard.com/@WEF#WorldEconomicForum

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Over 30 Million Americans Are Jobless

In less than two months, we have gone from an unemployment rate of 3.5%, a 50-year low to probably over 20%, the worst level since the Great Depression. Today’s Unemployment Insurance filings were 3.2 million, higher than economists’ consensus expectations. The number of jobs created since the Great Recession that ended in 2009 have been wiped out.

In the seven weeks, since states instituted stay-at-home requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic over 33 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. As I have written in the last few weeks, those numbers understate the severity of the crisis, because there are still millions of Americans who have not been able to file for unemployment benefits, due to overwhelmed resources at departments of labor around the country.

I expect unemployment to continue rising in the energy sector where the default rate is significantly above the average for all companies in America. As I wrote in mid-April, high yield energy bonds are now at a record $217 billion of outstanding volume. This sector was already being adversely affected even before the 2019 crisis. According to Eric Rosenthal Senior Director – Leveraged Finance at Fitch Ratings, the “energy default rate stands at 9.9% following Whiting Petroleum Corp. WLL ’s bankruptcy.

Fitch projects the 2020 sector default rate to reach 17% by year end, closing in on the record 19.7% mark set in January 2017.” He went on to state that “Several names on our Top Bonds of Concern could be imminent defaults including Ultra Resources Corp., Vine Oil and Gas LP and Jonah Energy Inc. along with Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK , California Resources Corp., Denbury Resources Inc. DNR , Unit Corp., Bruin E&P Partners LP and Chaparral Energy Inc.” These default rates are much higher than for the average default rate for all junk bonds. And until industry and travel start up again, it is hard to envision when the energy sector will recover. Energy companies are the majority of new companies added to Fitch’s April list of bonds of concern.

After energy, the next sectors that are the most vulnerable to a rise in default and hence laying off workers are retail and leisure and entertainment.

More unemployment will be coming not only from the private sector, but also from municipalities as their financial stress increases. In a report released this week by Moody’s Investors Service, ‘Outlook changes to negative as coronavirus intensifies severity and length of recession’ analyst Natalie Claes, wrote that Moody’s “outlook for US local governments is changing to negative from stable as our expectation of the duration and intensity of the coronavirus impact on the economic downturn grows in severity. The slow recovery will impair revenue and pressure operating reserves.

The sector will face challenges for the remainder of 2020 and continuing into 2021 as the economy recovers, because trends in local governments’ primary revenue source, property taxes, lag changes in economic activity.” Additionally, she pointed out that “Sales and income tax revenue, a significant source of revenue for some local governments, is already declining sharply given a rise in unemployment, reduced consumer spending, and income tax filing extensions. Property tax revenue will not take as great a hit until 2021 because assessments are set before the collection year, but a rise in delinquencies will start to weigh on revenue this year.” Unfortunately, this means that the next tsunami of unemployment will be amongst municipal employees such as police, firefighters, and teachers.

Even if we are lucky enough to start an economic recovery this year, it is very unlikely that all workers will be able to regain their jobs. Many employers are likely to be very cautious about ramping up their businesses, especially if there is uncertainty about COVID-19 returning again later in the year. Unfortunately, we have many more weeks of millions continue to file for unemployment benefits.

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Source: Over 30 Million Americans Are Jobless

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U.S. Stocks Claw Back Some Losses As Oil Prices Rebound

Topline: U.S. stocks recovered some losses on Thursday and oil prices soared, though the modest gains were not enough to offset the damage done by a weeks-long sell-off.

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.8%, or 170 points. The S&P 500 gained 0.3% while the Nasdaq gained 2.3%.
  • Tech stocks led the way on Thursday, with Amazon up 2.8% and Microsoft up 1.6%.
  • At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, President Trump said he would consider for companies who receive bailouts under his administration’s proposed $1 trillion stimulus plan.
  • Central banks are also continuing to act in order to cushion the economic blow of the coronavirus outbreak: yesterday, the European Central Bank announced an $818 billion bond-buying program and the Federal Reserve said it will act to shore up prime money market funds.

Crucial quote: “Central banks, particularly the Fed, really are playing whack-a-mole with the financial system,” Eric Winograd, senior economist at AllianceBernstein, told CNBC. “Every day, a new area of distress pops up and every day, they’re coming up with a new program or rebooting an old program.” The Federal Reserve is taking extraordinary steps to stabilize the U.S. economy: it has cut interest rates to almost zero, said it’s prepared to inject trillions of dollars into the overnight repo market, slashed bank reserve requirements and agreed to buy short term debt from companies with good credit ratings.

Big number: The price of oil bounced 24% on Thursday, gaining back about half of its losses from Wednesday, when it reached a multi-decade low. According to reporting in the Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter, the Trump administration is considering intervening in the ongoing oil-price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Key background: The Dow dropped 6.3% yesterday, nearly 2,000 points, while the S&P 500 was down 5.2% and the Nasdaq slid 4.7%. It was the eighth consecutive day where the S&P 500 swung more than 4% in either direction—that level of volatility is far worse than the previous record of six days during the Great Depression, according to LPL Financial. Last night, President Donald Trump signed a coronavirus relief bill into law. The bill includes free coronavirus testing and paid sick leave, among other measures. The Trump administration is also pushing for a $1 trillion economic stimulus package.

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Source: U.S. Stocks Claw Back Some Losses As Oil Prices Rebound

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Coronavirus Layoffs: A Running List Of Job Losses Caused By The Pandemic

Topline: As the coronavirus pandemic wipes out markets, closes schools and colleges, suspends major conferences, sports leagues and cultural events as well as upends the travel industry, businesses losing out on cash flow have started laying off workers.

Here’s who’s axed staff so far:

  • Norwegian Air said Thursday that it would temporarily lay off up to 50% of its workforce (and suspend 4,000 flights) due to the pandemic.
  • 50 employees of music and culture festival South By Southwest were let go after this year’s event was canceled, the Washington Post reported.
  • The Port of Los Angeles let go of 145 drivers after ships from China stopped arriving.
  • Christie Lights, an Orlando, Florida, based stage lighting company, laid off 100 employees.
  • HMSHost, a Seattle, Washington, global restaurant-services provider said it would lay off 200 people and an area corporate shuttle service would lay off 75, HuffPost reported, while an area hotel chain eliminated an entire department, according to the Post.
  • Travel agencies in Los Angeles, California, along with Atlanta, Georgia, had to let employees go as the pandemic battered their industry.
  • Aid workers in Las Vegas are reportedly seeing a surge in requests for food assistance and other help as events and trade shows get canceled.

What to watch for: If any U.S. airlines end up laying off workers. Delta Airlines said Tuesday it was cutting flights and freezing hiring. American Airlines is also cutting flights, and delaying trainings for new flight attendants and pilots. Reuters reported Thursday that jobless claims are down for the week, but coronavirus-related layoffs are likely on the horizon.

Big number: 2,352 points. That’s how far the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted Thursday, which is a 10% drop. The S&P 500 fell 9.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite sank 9.4%.

Key background: There are now more than 1,300 reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. and at least 38 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Worldwide cases now amount to almost 128,000 infected and more than 4,700 dead. Meanwhile, Congress is in conflicted talks over a coronavirus relief bill that may not pass this week, while New York and other state governments begin to implement bans on large gatherings to stem the spread of disease. Cancelations of concerts, sports leagues, festivals, religious gatherings and other large events have impacted millions of people. At least 135 colleges have so far canceled in-person classes. On Wednesday night, President Trump announced a 30 day travel ban from Europe (excluding the U.K. and Ireland) that sent airlines and travelers scrambling to adjust.

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I’m a New York-based journalist covering breaking news at Forbes. I hold a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Previous bylines: Gotham Gazette, Bklyner, Thrillist, Task & Purpose and xoJane.

Source: Coronavirus Layoffs: A Running List Of Job Losses Caused By The Pandemic

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Andy Challenger of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, a global outplacement and career transitioning firm, joins ‘Power Lunch’ to discuss the four waves of layoffs they see happening as a result of the coronavirus impact. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://www.cnbc.com/pro/?__source=yo… » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic Turn to CNBC TV for the latest stock market news and analysis. From market futures to live price updates CNBC is the leader in business news worldwide. Connect with CNBC News Online Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/ Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC
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