Skill Shift: Automation And The Future of The Workforce

Automation and artificial intelligence (AI) are changing the nature of work. The McKinsey Global Institute presents new findings on the coming shifts in demand for workforce skills and how companies organize work, as people increasingly interact with machines in the workplace. Findings include:

  • Automation will accelerate the shift in required workforce skills, with the strongest growth focused on technological skills, the smallest category today. 
  • Some skill categories will see less demand, such as the basic cognitive skills used in data input and processing. Demand for physical and manual skills will also drop. 
  • Companies need to make significant organizational changes to stay competitive considering these skill shifts. A survey of more than 3,000 business leaders in seven countries highlights a new emphasis on continuous learning for workers. 
  • Competition for high-skill workers will increase, displacing mainly low-skill ones. 
  • Almost half of the companies surveyed said they expect to take the lead in building the workforce of the future, but all stakeholders will need to work together to manage the large-scale retraining and other transition challenges ahead.