The world of work is changing very rapidly for diverse reasons, but mainly due to technology, globalisation and people working for longer. A lot of anxiety surrounds these changes and many worry that the world of work and its drastic changes will affect everyone. But what are these changes in reality? Below we will have a look at some differences the world of work is encountering and will continue to face in the future.

  • Automation of Jobs

Due to innovation and artificial intelligence, we have been seeing major changes in jobs. Research conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with many countries, indicates that 14% of jobs are at a high risk of automation, while 32% could be radically transformed (OECD, 2019). Although the most popular careers chosen by young people such as health, social, cultural and legal professions tend to be at a lower risk of automation, 39% of jobs chosen by 15 year olds (PISA, 2020) run the risk of being automated. Obviously this will be greatly affected by the different country’s labour market.

  • Ageing Populations

With longer life expectancy and lower birth rates, the average age is rising. In 1980, 20% of people of working age were people 65+ years of age. By 2050, this percentage will rise to 53% meaning that over half of the working population will be 65+ (OECD, 2019).

  • New technologies and globalisation offer many opportunities for creating new jobs

Although many fear that there might be destruction of jobs because of such changes, since these developments bring about lower prices and improve quality of goods and services, there will be more demand from consumers and with that, more new jobs will be created (OECD, 2019). It is true that some jobs will become obsolete, but others are and will continue to emerge.

  • Adult learning is essential to cope with changes in the labour market

In order to be prepared for the changing world of work, where some jobs are declining while others are expanding, good adult learning is important to learn the necessary skills and help in the transition. In fact, According to the OECD (2019) in many European Countries, unemployment or low paid work is on the rise for young people with lower education.  Unfortunately, participation in training is lowest among those who actually need it the most, such as the low skilled, the older employees and those who lose their employment (OECD, 2019).

  • The existence of non-standard work

There is a rise of non-traditional employment statuses. While we are used to the employer and employee (full time and part time) scenario, there are many new types of workers. Nowadays one in seven workers is self-employed, while one in nine employees are working on a temporary contract (OECD, 2019).

Thus, it can be concluded that although there are uncertainties. Even though certain tasks, and even jobs, are disappearing, others are emerging. The main aim for the future is to transition towards new opportunities that are (and will continue to be) emerging in an ever changing world of work.


OECD (2019) Employment Outlook 2019: The Future of Work, OECD Publishing, Paris

OECD (2019) PISA 2018 Results (Volume II) Where All Students Can Succeed, PISA OECD Publishing, Paris

Ann Julene Hili is a Career Guidance Practitioner with Willingness. She specializes in working with teens and young adults who are in their educational and career transitions. She can be contacted on call us on 79291817.