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How Technology Adoption Trends are Impacting Workforces

Woman looking at reflection in screen

Fueled in part by the 2020 pandemic, the pace of technology adoption is expected to continue and likely to accelerate in many areas, according to a recent report from the World Economic Forum.  

Here are highlights from the report that provides insight into near-term trends around technology adoption.

Variation across industries 

The patterns of technological adoption vary according to industry with different areas of technology showing greater emergence in fields where they are most relevant. For example, artificial intelligence is finding the most broad adoption among the digital information and communications, financial services, healthcare and transportation industries. Big data, the Internet of Things (IOT) and non-humanoid robotics are also seeing strong adoption in mining and metals, while the government and the public sector industry shows a distinctive focus on encryption. 

Tech adoption will require restructuring 

Data from the Forum’s Future of Jobs Report shows that companies expect to restructure their workforce in response to new technologies, which will require upskilling and reskilling as well as engaging independent contractors for task specialized work. New technologies will drive future growth across industries, as well as increase the demand for new job roles and skill sets. 

Shifting needs 

Over the next five years, 85 million jobs may be displaced by a shift in the division of labor between humans and machines, more than offset by 97 million new roles anticipated to emerge, which are more adapted to the new division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms, across the 15 industries and 26 economies covered in the WEF report. The positions growing fastest in demand include roles such as data analysts, AI specialists, robotics engineers, software and application developers and digital transformation specialists. 

As technology adoption accelerates, so will the role of leadership. Human leadership is essential to overseeing managing, advising, decision-making, reasoning, communicating and interacting. Ultimately, technology can augment but not replace humans, and leadership must learn how to embrace this new frontier