Workers must improve tech knowledge or get left behind, report warns

3rd March 2014 at 19:01


Within the next few decades almost every job in the UK will become increasingly reliant on technology, forcing workers to continuously adapt their skills or get left behind, a leading skills body has warned.

In a major report published today, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills tries to predict what the labour market of 2030 will look like and what skills will be needed to get there.

The report, The Future of Work, Jobs and Skills in 2030, says that information technology will “pervade work environments everywhere”, leaving both winners and losers.

It says that the boundaries between traditional jobs will become blurred, and employees will need the skills to work across a number of disciplines.

Time and location-based employment, such as 9-5 office work, will also become a thing of the past as employees are expected to become more flexible, it predicts.

Launching the report at a conference in London this morning Toby Peyton-Jones, HR director for technology firm Siemens and a UKCES Commissioner, warned of the “absolutely massive” demographic changes in employment trends predicted by the report.

By 2030 it is expected that the UK workforce will be multi-generational, older and more international, with women playing a much stronger role. While the highly-skilled will prosper, many others will face increasing job insecurity.

Mark Keese, head of the employment, analysis and policy division of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said that too many countries had let their vocational systems “wither away”, which in hindsight has been a “massive mistake”.

“If we do not correctly anticipate changing skills needs there are enormous costs for individuals, for employers and for society as a whole," he said.

“The UK’s future growth depends heavily on how well it manages and develops the skills of its workforce.”

In his address to the conference, UK skills minister Matthew Hancock said that the country has a “once in a generation opportunity” to "fix” the vocational education system, “to give students real, valued training and give employers the skilled people they need”.



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