“The skills gap continues to widen across many industries,” said Dirck Schou, CEO and co-founder of Taqtile, a software company. “Nearly one quarter of industrial frontline workers are age 55 or older, and they are retiring at a rate that is faster than new workers are coming in to replace them.”
The nature of work is being transformed by technological advances and digitalisation in combination with other drivers, such as globalisation, climate change and profound demographic shifts – as some societies age, others are top heavy in young people.
Compared with the Industrial Revolution, the early 21st century economic transformation is happening 10 times faster, at a scale 300 times greater, translating to 3000 times the impact, estimate some experts. Meanwhile, chronic threats, such as potentially devastating environmental destruction, run parallel to acute ones such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Workplaces and employment markets have been upended: with deep shifts in job content, working methods, workplace tools, and, subsequently, the terms and conditions of labour contracts.
This involves the decline of medium-skilled jobs vis-à-vis higher- and lower-skilled jobs (a.k.a. “hollowing-out”). Automation and offshoring are generally held responsible. Such jobs typically employ medium-skilled men without a tertiary degree, notably in manufacturing, but they also include women working as secretaries, cashiers, and bookkeepers and clerks.
If you count yourself among those middling folks, your prospects seem set to decline further. Roughly four in five new job openings will relate to high-skilled occupations, according to one study. Growth was predicted among managers, professionals and other professionals, together with sales, security, cleaning, catering and caring. As a result, medium-skilled workers are more likely to work in low-skilled occupations with less job stability and lower wages.