Washington, D.C. — Today, Business Forward Foundation released an updated issue brief in its Answering America series, which helps local business leaders answer the questions their neighbors are asking about critical issues. The new report, Will Automation Steal Our Jobs?, explains how technological innovations are changing American workplaces and what those changes mean for our workers.
Digital innovations — including automation, machine learning, and access to remote work — are changing the job mix. “By 2027, 85 million jobs will be displaced around the world, but nearly 100 million new jobs will be created,” explained Liz Fairchild, executive director of Business Forward Foundation. “And tomorrow’s jobs will demand a more complex set of skills, focused on technology, creativity, and continuous learning. Even though these new jobs pay better, employers are struggling to fill open positions for two reasons: the “skills gap” and the “opportunity gap.””
The skills gap refers to a mismatch in the supply and demand of skills in our labor market, and it exists because workplace demands are changing faster than our workers. The opportunity gap, defined by nonprofit organization Opportunity@Work, describes the range of social and economic factors that employers use to screen potential applicants out of their hiring processes. Will Automation Steal Our Jobs? explains how the problems are interconnected, and why closing both gaps is key to solving labor market inefficiencies and driving economic growth.
For example, Sunrun, a leader in American solar and energy services, recently partnered with Guild Education to create a professional development program called PowerU. The program provides professional development and degrees for Sunrun workers in fields like sustainability management, electrical engineering, and sales leadership. “The PowerU program demonstrates the wide range of benefits that job training programs can bring to employers, employees, and the labor market more broadly,” added Fairchild.
In context of current negotiations in Congress, Fairchild emphasized the importance of Washington’s role: “Our government must be proactive in providing resources and investments for workforce development — and we have the opportunity to do so right now via President Biden’s Build Back Better framework, which includes $130 billion to invest in higher education, workforce development, and equity for underserved communities, ensuring women and people of color have access to quality training and good job opportunities. Businesses looking to scale and compete need bold investments in their local workforces.”
To learn more about technology and the future of work read the report here.
ABOUT BUSINESS FORWARD FOUNDATION
The Business Forward Foundation is an independent research and education organization that takes a business-minded look at policy issues affecting America’s economic competitiveness. Our work combines insights and advice from business leaders across the country with rigorous policy analysis. Through white papers, issue briefs, conference calls, and other events, we educate policy makers and the public about climate change, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, the future of work, and other critical issues.