Report: Machines to Do Half of All Jobs in Five Years

Category: Business


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. collectively / kəˈlɛk tɪv li / (adv) – as a whole

    The entire team’s efforts collectively contributed to the project’s success.

  2. expedite / ˈɛk spɪˌdaɪt / (v) – to make something happen sooner

    Customers can pay more to expedite the shipping.

  3. automation / ˌɔ təˈmeɪ ʃən / (n) – the act or process of using machines to do something

    Automation can save factories money because machines never need to take vacations or sick days.

  4. repetitive / rɪˈpɛt ɪ tɪv / (adj) – happening many times

    My tasks are so repetitive that they don’t require much thought.

  5. susceptible / səˈsɛp tə bəl / (adj) – likely to be affected or influenced by something

    The elderly are more susceptible to illnesses than young adults.


Read the text below.

Robots and machines will handle half of all jobs by 2025, according to a recent report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

The report surveyed 300 of the world’s largest companies, which collectively employ eight million people worldwide. Because of increased technology use, 43% of the companies said that they might have to eliminate future jobs, while more than 50% plan to expedite the automation of some roles in their companies.

Overall, the WEF estimates that around 85 million jobs will be lost due to the rise of machines and automation.

Manual and repetitive jobs, like data processing and machinery operation, are the most susceptible to being taken over by machines, the report indicates. Administrative jobs, such as bookkeeping and accounting, are at risk too.

Jobs that require human skills, like communication, interaction, and decision-making, will become in demand in five years, the report says. Some of these jobs include digital marketing, software development, and data analysis.

The report also predicts that the change in the labor market would open up around 97 million new jobs.

Despite the positive shift in the labor market, the WEF warned that it will not equally benefit everyone. Many low-skilled workers, young people, and women will lose their jobs, while millions will have to be retrained to cope with the changes. Because of this, the report urged governments to provide stronger support for workers that will be affected by the shift, like offering incentives and opportunities to enhance their skills.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you think the report’s predictions will likely be true for your country? Why or why not?
• Do you think offering incentives and opportunities to enhance the skills of displaced workers would be enough to support them? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of having robots/machines as workers? Discuss.
• What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of having human workers? Explain.