What is the future of employment in 2030?

What is the future of employment in 2030?

What if we knew which types of jobs and skills would likely be in demand in the next 10–15 years? Upcoming research aims to help us plan better for the future of work.
Jessica Thornton
Collaborator
March 13, 2019
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What does the future hold for Canada’s labour market in 10 – 15 years? What jobs and skills will be most in demand? How should Canadians be preparing?

These are big questions that keep us up at night. Yet, despite the anxiety many Canadians feel about the changing nature of work, Canada lacks a holistic, detailed, and actionable forecast of in-demand skills. Also unknown is the distribution of these skills across geographies, industries and demographic groups. Without the availability of this important labour market information (LMI), it’s incredibly difficult for governments, educators, and all Canadians to have a plan for future-proofing workers in the face of complex forces ranging from automation and offshoring to digitalization.

This challenge is not unique to Canada, and as we shared a year ago, the UK-based innovation foundation, Nesta, developed an approach to generating helpful insights on the topic. Their study used a novel mixed method approach that combines historic trends analysis, insights from experts, and machine learning algorithms. Using these methods, Nesta was able to map how the job and skills compositions of the US and UK labour markets are likely to change in and around the year 2030.

We believe that this study is critical to helping develop our understanding of the future of work, and generating new sources of labour market information. And, while Nesta’s work provides critical insights about US and UK labour markets, it needs to be replicated in Canada in order to draw meaningful results specific to our surroundings.

This is why we’re partnering with Nesta, with just over $1-million in funding from the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiative Program and the Max Bell Foundation, to bring this study here. Over the next year, Employment in 2030 will take place in a series of stages:

  1. Futures Research: We’re conducting futures research to map the trends and drivers of change impacting Canada’s labour market in the next 10 – 15 years, which will be released in the spring of 2019.
  2. Forecast Workshops + Survey: Complemented with occupation-specific data, our futures research will be the basis of workshops held in six Canadian locations throughout the spring. These interactive workshops will engage experts to forecast potential changes in occupationsand the skills they comprisebetween now and 2030. Key insights from these workshops will be shared later this summer.
  3. Machine Learning Modelling: The input gathered in our cross-country workshops will form the training data required for the machine learning algorithms. This will allow us to project changes across the entire labour market, which we’ll make available in a final report, to be released early 2020.
  4. Data Visualization + Open Data: For those who are interested in interacting with the data, we’re committed to creating useful visualizations, while also making the data we collect publicly available. It’s our hope that others can build off this work.  

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The goal of this project is to help fill some key gaps in LMI, so that we can support the design of policies and programs aimed at fostering inclusive economic growth in Canada. Anxiety around the future of work is partially fueled by lack of information, and the resulting uncertainty that the unknown can often create. That’s why new sources of LMI are more important than ever. And, as the authors of Nesta’s work pointed out, their study “challenges the false alarmism [typical of many predictions about the future of work] that contributes to a culture of risk aversion and holds back technology adoption, innovation, and growth.”

We’re thrilled to work with Nesta on this project, and to have the opportunity to build on their approach. While they’ll be heavily involved throughout, we think it’s critical to engage Canadian collaborators as well. That’s why we’ve convened an advisory committee to advise on the project, as well as local partners to co-host the workshops with us. We’ve also interviewed key end users to better understand their LMI needs, and brought in technical advisors to help round out our expertise. If you’d like to get involved, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at brookfield.institute@ryerson.ca.

For media enquiries, please contact Coralie D’Souza, Director of Communications, Events + Community Relations at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.

Jessica Thornton
Collaborator
March 13, 2019
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