At Davos, labor leaders and executives agree that policies and investments into skills training is the best way to prevent people from being left behind in the 'Fourth Industrial Revolution'
- Insider, Inc. CEO Henry Blodget hosted a panel at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos titled "Learning Today for Tomorrow's Jobs."
- The panel comprised executives, labor leaders, and a renowned academic, who debated the extent of involvement for the public and private sectors in assisting workers through what WEF calls the "Fourth Industrial Revolution."
- The panel found that the transformation of industries should inspire action, but not hopelessness.
- All panel members agreed that now is the time to develop job education programs for existing employees and to further embrace alternatives to four-year university education.
- This article is part of Business Insider's ongoing series on Better Capitalism.
The developed world is undergoing a period of rapid transformation yet again, and this means that workers, governments, and corporations are going to have to adapt so that they're not left behind.World Economic Forum (WEF) founder Klaus Schwab thinks the scale and speed at which changes like artificial intelligence-powered automation are taking place warrants the label of the "Fourth Industrial Revolution."
While it's easy for an elite class to be hopeful around changes that will likely make their businesses more efficient and productive, it's upsetting for the average worker to constantly hear that robots will be replacing millions of jobs.
Some of this fear is based on how much is unknown: There are plenty of estimates tossed around, but the bottom line is no one knows for certain which jobs will be obsolete in 10 years, and which new ones will emerge.
After surveying 33,000 people around the world for its latest annual trust survey, the global communications firm Edelman found that 59% of employees worry about not having the training and skills necessary for a well-paying job and 55% worry automation and other tech will make their job obsolete.
In the hopes of finding some solutions to alleviate these fears, Henry Blodget, the cofounder and CEO of Business Insider's parent company Insider, Inc., had a discussion with top labor leaders, executives, and a renowned academic at WEF's annual conference in Davos, Switzerland.
Blodget's panel, "Learning Today for Tomorrow's Jobs" included:
- Adam Grant, bestselling author and professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania
- Christy Hoffman, general secretary of the Switzerland-based global union federation UNI Global Union
- Julie Gebauer, head of human capital and benefits at the United Kingdom-based insurance brokerage and consulting firm Willis Towers Watson
- Bill Thomas, global chairman of the Netherlands-based professional services company KPMG
- Guy Ryder, director-general of the United Nations agency the International Labour Organization (ILO)
It's a time for action, the panel agreed, not giving up."We've seen shifts like this before; we've gotten through them," Blodget said.
We've collected highlights from the discussion, to find out how to get through this current shift.