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During this year’s Political Festival, there will be several topics discussed including how the digital evolution will influence the future job market. My answer is simple: A LOT.

A stream of politicians, companies, associations and citizens will meet very soon at this year’s political festival in Bornholm, Denmark. The topics of disruption and digitization will account for more than 100 speeches in this year’s program, and a central theme in the debate is how the digital evolution will influence the future job market. My answer is simple: the digital evolution will radically change our job market.

Already now, we can start seeing the shapes of our future job market, and some of the scenarios technology will generate are as follows:

  • Technology is explosively growing. It will continue to generate many jobs. We need people to make the technology, think of smart new features for it, install it, secure it, build the bridge and learn the rest of us how to use it – and from there on, we will all become super users of the new technology.
  • Mentors will be the voices of the past. The experienced mentors we know today will not be able to guide us in the new world. So who will then introduce us to the new technology? The young generation will – but how?
  • We will have a machine as our manager. We will all be working closely with new technology such as artificial intelligence (AI). Today, there are many individuals working closely with machines – but it only just started. Many people can imagine themselves having a machine helping them out, but only very few of them can imagine themselves having a machine as their manager!
  • Routine tasks are handed over to machines. New jobs will require higher technical skills. The human being will get the difficult tasks without routines. We already see it today – doctors, accountants and lawyers only get the hard questions now, because Google has taken over all the easy tasks.

On the leadership side, disruption and digitization are seen as challenges. We can clearly see the impact in some sectors. Many people have a hard time letting go of the past and the status which experience gave them. Freelancers are increasingly growing – both driven by companies, but also very much by individuals, who are seeking freedom and flexibility. The way we hire new employees will radically change.

If we look at the negative side of digitization, we can fear a polarized job market between those who master the technology wagon and those who do not. This is the job market which schools and educational institutions will need to form and educate themselves for. They are the ones who have the opportunity. Therefore, many schools have already started embracing the theme, but still not enough. School teachers are not well enough equipped to involve IT in the classroom at the required level.

On a positive note, so far we have been really good onboarding new technology. In Denmark, we have been exceptionally good at turning automated jobs into growth and new jobs to a higher level. And this development will most likely continue. The question is whether automation will continue to evolve slowly so we can upgrade our employees and create new jobs in line with development, or if it will evolve at an exponential speed, where it will be a lot harder to keep up. I think we will see both trends depending on the industry.

It is the pace that will determine whether we lose or create jobs. Because changes are happening so rapidly one after the other, we are becoming the eternal beginners. Therefore, we must develop the competency to master the beginner process of learning new technology over and over again. 

The future of the job market is constantly changing. And the digital evolution will change everything we know today. In reality, maybe the biggest change is not technology itself or innovation, but the fact that we must say goodbye to our comfort feeling of being competent. In the future you will always be a beginner.

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