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AI, green energy will replace nearly a quarter of global jobs by 2027


Nearly a quarter of jobs in the workforce are expected to change by 2027, with AI and technology positions at the center of change, according to a report by the World Economic Forum.

Key findings

  • In the global workforce, 69 million new jobs will be created and 83 million positions will be eliminated over the next four years, the report predicts.
  • Green energy, technology and supply chain jobs are driving changes in the workforce, according to the World Economic Forum.
  • Half of employers believe AI will create more jobs, while another quarter believe AI will cost jobs.

While the transition to green energy and the localization of supply chains will help create 69 million new jobs, advances in technology and digitization will be among the factors behind the elimination of 83 million positions over the next four years.

The change will affect 23% of the workforce, either by creating a new job or eliminating an existing one, according to estimates from 803 companies surveyed for The Future of Jobs Report 2023.

Some of the fastest growing jobs will be in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, while education, agriculture and digital commerce are expected to create the largest number of jobs overall.

High inflation, supply shortages and slower economic growth pose some of the biggest threats to job creation, the report said.

Despite forecasts showing overall job losses, employers were generally positive about the role that technology, and AI in particular, will play in job growth. Of the employers surveyed, half believe AI will create jobs, while another quarter say jobs will be lost to AI tools. Companies like Facebook parent Meta Platforms ( META ) and Microsoft ( MSFT ) recently provided updates on AI integration as part of their quarterly earnings reports.

After several years of economic upheaval stemming from the Covid pandemic, artificial intelligence is now providing even more job uncertainty, said Saadia Zahidi, managing director of the World Economic Forum.

“The good news is that there is a clear way forward to ensure sustainability,” said Saadia Zahidi, managing director of the World Economic Forum. “Governments and businesses must invest in supporting the transition to the jobs of the future through education, reskilling and social support structures that can ensure that people are at the heart of the future of work.”

Automation is projected to increase

The trend towards task automation will continue into 2027, when employers believe 42% of physical and manual tasks will be handled by a machine, although three years ago employers believed automation levels would be higher than they are now .

The automation of physical and manual tasks has not increased significantly since the last World Economic Forum report three years ago, with employers responding that 34% of tasks are now automated.

“But when you look specifically at the types of tasks, it’s very clear that the automation of physical and manual work is no faster than it was three years ago,” Zahidi said during a podcast about the report. “But when it comes to very human traits like coordinating between people, like helping with decision-making and reasoning, or communicating, that’s where you actually see an uptick.” That’s where you see a greater risk of automation or a greater prediction about automation than before.”

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.