Jobs & Workforce Summit Preview: Amar Kumar, Presenting New Research on the Future of Work


amarkumarAmar Kumar is the Senior Vice President of Efficacy & Research at Pearson, and will be joining us as a featured speaker at the 8th Annual Massachusetts Jobs & Workforce Summit on Thursday, October 26th in Devens, MA. This year’s theme, Talent in the New Economy: Powering Economic Growth will highlight public policy and program efforts which support and develop a skilled workforce and play a critical role in building our local economy.

Continue reading below for a sneak peek into Pearson’s research on the future of work and what Amar will be discussing at the Summit. And don’t forget to register today to join the event. Space is filling up fast!

Class of 2030: Future of Jobs

Excerpt from LinkedIn article originally published by Amar Kumar on March 21, 2017 prior to the release of Pearson’s full report – “The Future of Skills: Employment in 2030.”

A girl entering school this year will likely be entering the job market in 2030.

What jobs will be available to her when she graduates? Will there even be such a thing as a job? Will her education have prepared her for this job? What about the next job? Or the one after that?

While the future of jobs is a topic often discussed at length, our researchers are approaching it with a twist: a twist that allows us to start with many of the human factors driving this shift. The ultimate goal of our research is to answer a very practical question: what will education systems need to do differently to prepare people for this future?

To begin to answer this question, we need to start with an awareness of the global trends – beyond just technology – that will affect jobs. These include globalization, urbanization, aging, and climate change, among a few others. Once we identified these trends, we brought together experts to debate their impact on the jobs of today.

Our next step – which is where things really get interesting – is to use machine learning to look for patterns in those predictions. If we make a prediction that demand for jobs A and B will increase, what implications does that have for job C, job D, job E, and so on? The analysis will be conducted at the micro-skill level (all coded by the O*Net database).

In using this novel methodology, our hope is that we will identify patterns that others have not yet found, allowing us to better understand the jobs of the future and how we can prepare people for them.

So, what are the trends we’re considering?

The most obvious trend is technology; its impact on the job landscape is exceedingly clear. For example, we know that automation (e.g., robots) will dramatically reduce demand for many jobs, especially blue-collar manufacturing ones. But, we also know that the emerging field of “cobotics” – where a human cooperates with a robot – could open up an entirely new set of possibilities!

Another important trend is aging: with lower fertility rates in the Western world and increased life expectancy, the average age of society is going up. If this trend continues, we can expect demand for in-home health, lifelong learning, and general healthcare to rise. (For a fun exercise, think of the interplay between aging and technology: will demand for healthcare workers rise or fall?

Another interesting trend is urbanization: with 2.5b more people expected to live in cities over the next three decades, how will this change society and the nature of jobs? As more people move to the cities, it leaves fewer jobs in rural areas, which only causes more people to leave for the city, reinforcing the cycle. How will we arrest the decline in economic opportunity for rural America?

In addition to these, our experts are also considering several other trends – globalization and climate change to name a couple – and how they will shape the job landscape of 2030.

The Future of Skills – An Overview of Pearson’s Findings

(spoiler alert: it’s not all doom and gloom!)

  • Only 1 in 5 workers are in occupations that will shrink.
  • Only 1 in 10 workers are in occupations that are likely to grow.
  • 7 in 10 workers are in jobs where there is greater uncertainty about the future. However, findings indicate that we can do a great deal to help prepare people for the future.
  • Although there is already broad understanding that “21st century skills” will be in demand, this research leads to a far more nuanced understanding of which skills will be in greatest demand.
  • Research definitively shows that both knowledge and skills will be required for the future economy.
  • Occupations and their skill requirements are not set in stone. Occupations can be re-designed to pair uniquely human skills with the productivity gains from technology to boost demand for jobs.

To learn more about this research, please visit this page.

Download the full report.

Learn more about this research and its implications from an expert

Hear Amar’s fascinating take on the future of work and skills directly from the source – register today for the 2017 MA Jobs & Workforce Summit! Space is limited.WSG_Summit2017_Flyer (002)About the Massachusetts Jobs and Workforce Summit: Now in its eighth year, the 2017 Summit will attract more than 300 key policy makers, business, labor and education leaders, to share the latest information about job creation, statewide labor and credential needs, higher education initiatives, and career pathways for young adults. In addition, we will also present the Workforce Champion Awards to the Employer of the Year, Training Partnership of the Year, Best Youth Employment Program, and the Legislator Champion Awards. Click here for more information.

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And don’t forget to follow us at @SkillWorks_MA and our public policy partners @WSG_40


Author: SkillWorks

SkillWorks is a nationally recognized workforce funder collaborative, launched by the Boston Foundation in 2003 to improve workforce development in Boston and across Massachusetts. SkillWorks brings together philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers to address the twin goals of: 1) Helping low-skill, low-income individuals attain family-supporting jobs; and 2) Helping employers find and retain skilled employees.

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