Almost 40% of workers believe their jobs will be obsolete within five years

PwC survey finds one in 10 remote workers want to go back to office full time

50 per cent of workers say they’ve faced discrimination at work which led to them missing out on career advancement or training. Photograph: iStock

Almost 40 per cent of workers believe their jobs will be obsolete within five years, according to PwC.

In a major survey of future work trends, the consultancy firm also found that while 40 per cent of workers around the world say their digital skills improved during the lockdown, data shows unequal access to career and training opportunities.

The survey of 32,500 workers in 19 countries paints a picture of a global workforce that sees the shift to remote working “as just the tip of the iceberg”.

Some 60 per cent said they are worried that automation is putting many jobs at risk, while 48 per cent believe “traditional employment won’t be around in the future”.

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Some 39 per cent said they believed their jobs would be obsolete within five years.

At the same time, a similar amount said their digital skills had improved through the prolonged period of lockdown, and claimed they’ll continue to embrace training and skills development.

Only one in 10 of those who can work remotely want to go back to a traditional commute and work environment full time, reflecting the huge trend towards remote working.

Discrimination

Half of workers surveyed reported missing out on career opportunities or training due to prejudice.

The survey found that 50 per cent of workers say they’ve faced discrimination at work, which led to them missing out on career advancement or training. Some 13 per cent report missing out on opportunities as a result of ethnicity and 14 per cent of workers have experienced discrimination on the grounds of gender, with women twice as likely to report gender discrimination as men.

Three-quarters of Irish chief executives said they were concerned about the availability of key skills, but just one in four plan to significantly invest in talent development.

Three-quarters of employees globally (75 per cent) said they want to work for an organisation that will make a “positive contribution to society”. Meanwhile, 51 per cent of Irish bosses said that their organisation is making changes to their organisational purpose to better reflect the role their organisation plays in society.

“If current patterns in access to training persist, upskilling will increase social inequality when it should be doing precisely the opposite,” Gerard McDonough, of PwC Ireland, said.

“Government and business leaders need to work together to intensify efforts to ensure people in the most at-risk industries and groups get the opportunities they need,” he said.

“Automation and technological disruption are inevitable, but we can control whether its negative effects are managed or not,” he said.

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

Eoin Burke-Kennedy is Economics Correspondent of The Irish Times