The future is here today. Beyond the automation of routine and repetitive tasks is the revolution in analytical insight, customer engagement and product customisation ushered in by artificial intelligence (AI). The Channel Islands’ workforce needs to get up to speed.
PwC analysis reveals that around 30% of jobs in Jersey and Guernsey are at risk between now and 2035. If governments, businesses and educators don’t take decisive action now, the jobs that are furloughed or lost in the downturn may never come back. In turn, posts at risk of automation in 5-10 years’ time could disappear much sooner as restructuring and cost saving accelerate in the wake of the pandemic.
Yet this is also a once-in-a-generation opportunity. With the right skills, agility and readiness to embrace change, the Channel Islands can create thousands of new jobs to make up for the ones that will be lost. We can attract new businesses with new ways of working, improve the quality and value of the work we do, make it more fulfilling and ultimately bolster the long-term competitiveness and prosperity of our islands.
Our report looks at what kinds of work are under threat on the one side and how we could create new and higher value employment opportunities on the other.
Automation means neither full employment nor wealth-generating jobs to support this can be taken for granted. COVID-19 will accelerate the adoption of technology, bringing the issue into sharper focus more quickly.
Workforce transformation can no longer be consigned to the ‘not now’ or ‘too difficult’ piles. Everyone needs upskilling and everyone can play a part in getting our workforce up to speed. The first step is recognising this as an immediate imperative.
At PwC, we’ve developed first-hand experience of the power of upskilling. Our global ‘New world. New skills.’ programme recognises the opportunities rather than just the threats that come from digital disruption. As we look to uplift digital capability to keep pace with client demands, optimise operations and continue to attract top talent, the programme focuses on building up the ‘digital fitness’ of our people.
If we don’t, the skills gaps could get worse, we risk being competitively side-lined and, perhaps most damaging, unemployment could become permanent and futures be dashed. Many of the jobs at risk will be lower skilled, lower paid roles, which in turn could deepen social divides. We believe everyone should be able to live, learn, work and participate in a digital world.