2020 is a pivotal moment for Europe, with greater economic uncertainty, rapid technology change, and a pandemic disrupting existing working environments. Forrester’s research data shows that the European job market will become even more dynamic, with job eliminations and skills shortages leading to booming job markets and employment wastelands:
- Technologies will be more relevant: Digital twins and robots play a major role in manufacturing; AI and blockchain are central to financial services; while 5G will be highly relevant to the media sector. The impact of technologies on the job market is a blend of job losses, job creation, and job transformation.
- Digital nomads’ lifestyle will influence traditional work cultures: The number of independent workers embracing a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely from anywhere in the world is growing. Forrester estimates that about 5 million of these digital nomads existed globally in late 2019. In a post-COVID-19 labor market, Millennials will become increasingly attracted to aspects of the digital nomad work culture.
- Employees will depend less on a corporate office: By 2030, home working will be the norm for most white-collar jobs; working from a corporate office will be the exception. In the EU, the percentage of workers who occasionally work from home slowly increased from 7.7% in 2008 to 9.6% in 2017. COVID-19 has turbocharged this shift to home working and videoconferencing across Europe, and the pendulum won’t swing fully back to office-based working.
- Automation will open up opportunities for innovation: Estimates suggest that automation will affect 15% to 50% of jobs, leading to an evolution in the type of roles available.
- Lower-skilled workers won’t disappear: The number of structured physical jobs will decline, while roles requiring empathy and emotional intelligence will increase. But while it may be technologically feasible to automate a human position, it won’t always be financially sensible to do so.
- Independent professionals and freelancers will benefit from more social protection: The number of part-time and independent professionals is increasing in Europe, rising from 7.7 million in 2008 to 9.6 million in 2015. To create a dynamic job market, Europe’s governments must find the right balance between enshrining social protection for every job and allowing individuals the freedom
Nobody disputes the importance of digital, science, and engineering skills for the future of Europe’s job market. However, businesses are also searching for people with initiative, critical thinking, creativity, and passion.
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