By Jacob Zinkula
See original post here.
Nearly 12 million Americans in occupations with shrinking demand may need to switch jobs by 2030.
Over the past few years, the job-switching boom dubbed the Great Resignation was driven by workers seeking better pay and work-life balance. But between now and 2030, the McKinsey researchers projected that 11.8 million workers will have to change jobs not because they want to, but because they have to. Roughly 9 million of them might have to find new jobs in new industries altogether, the study found.
Michael Chui, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute who has researched the impact of new technologies on businesses, and a coauthor of the study, told Insider that 75% of the projected declines in job levels are in four categories: office support, customer service and sales, food services, and production work (e.g., manufacturing).
Lower-wage workers are expected to be most impacted by these changes. The study found that Americans in lower-wage jobs are up to 14 times more likely to need to change occupations by 2030. At the same, the study found that the demand for higher-wage professions in industries like healthcare, tech, and transportation is likely to grow considerably moving forward.
The jobs that will grow and shrink over the next decade
Chui pointed to four key factors that are driving the projected shifts in workforce demand.
First is the automation of jobs, which could be fueled by the rise of generative AI technologies like ChatGPT. The study found that up to 30% of hours currently worked in the US could be automated by 2030.
“It’s going to change the number of work hours that humans have to do when sometimes machines do some of their work,” he said.
The researchers said they expect generative AI to enhance the way STEM, creative, and business and legal professionals work rather than replace a significant number of them. They said automation’s biggest negative impacts could be on office support, customer service and sales, and food-service professions.
The study estimated that within the four categories most affected, demand for clerks, retail salespersons, administrative assistants, and cashiers, in particular, would each decline by over 600,000 jobs by 2030, in part because these jobs “involve a high share of repetitive tasks, data collection, and elementary data processing, all activities that automated systems can handle efficiently.” They noted that improved chatbots could impact the demand for customer-service roles.
The second factor is the continued rise of online shopping.
“If people spend relatively more on e-commerce than they do at brick-and-mortar retail, you might have fewer needs for a salesperson working in a store, but you’ll need more people to drive stuff and you’ll have more demand within warehouses,” Chui said.
In part due to the e-commerce boom, the researchers projected that the transportation-services category will see job growth of 9% by 2030.
Third, America is getting older, and people of different ages tend to have different spending patterns. Chui said this could lead to less demand for some jobs and increased demand for others — like healthcare workers.
“Everything from nursing aides all the way through surgeons and radiologists,” he said.
Fourth, despite the uptick in US manufacturing, Chui said productivity gains could lead to the industry requiring fewer workers than it used to.
“You’ll need fewer people, but with more skills,” he said.
AI’s job disruptions could move some low-paid workers into higher-paid positions
To what degree these shifts will be positive or negative for the US workforce is up for debate, Chui said. It comes down to the country’s ability to retrain vulnerable workers.
“The glass-half-empty version is that the people who are most vulnerable to some of these shifts are some of the lower-paid folks in the economy,” he said, adding, “The glass-half-full version is if we’re actually able to transition them through re-skilling, etc., then they could be taking on roles that actually have higher incomes. If we can make the labor market work by enabling these transitions, it’s actually all for the good.”
Chui said he’s confident that the US can make this transition, but that it will require significant investment by companies, schools, and governments. Along with training workers, he said the US could also benefit from a more “skills-based labor market,” one where during the hiring process, a worker’s specific skill set is valued as much if not more so than whether they have a college degree.
“There was a time when a vast majority of the workers in the United States were involved in agriculture,” he said. “And then years later, far more people were working in factories for instance. But we didn’t end up with 50% unemployment. We have historically been able to do this. It’s a new set of challenges, but if you’re an optimistic American, you say, ‘We can do this.'”