The future of management? More managers

There’s been a lot of speculation about where jobs are going to come from in the future.

The advent of AI and ever increasing automation in the workplace are legitimate cause for concern. Fortunately, McKinsey has just published a comprehensive report: Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: Workforce transitions in a time of automation. Much to my surprise, a key conclusion is that more managers – not fewer – are needed by 2030. This finding is particularly true in developed countries such as Germany and the U.S.

Workers displaced

Increased automation means that up to 375 million people will need to find new jobs requiring new skills. Old data related jobs will go but new skills that apply experience, interact with stakeholders will grow strongly. Most importantly, the ongoing need for better educated people managers shows no sign of slowing down.

Occupations affected

The difference in occupations affected between developing and advanced countries was different than I expected. In both developing and advanced countries, there’s a strong need for more care providers. However, in developing countries, lots more educators, builders and customer service are needed. On the other hand, professionals and managers/executives were the 2 highest growth categories in advanced countries. The existing shortage of qualified managers and leaders shows no sign of abating.

Transition support

Governments can ease the pain of automation revolution with public policy. Retraining midcareer workers will be crucial. The UK’s new apprenticeship scheme is a good example of what can be done. Fluid labour markets using the gig economy will help. And ongoing transition support for displaced workers will be the socially responsible thing to do.

Education requirements

In developed countries, secondary or associate degree qualifications will no longer suffice. In both developed and advanced countries, having a college or advanced degree will be important to getting a job.

More managers and leaders needed

McKinsey’s report clearly shows the need for more managers/executives. This finding continues a long-term trend for the management education and leadership development industries. The key is to take advantage of developments in technology and provide workers with affordable and accessible digital alternatives to traditional face to face classrooms. In addition, offering accredited, global qualifications will help ease the transition.

Our future prosperity depends on more and better qualified managers and leaders to boost the benefits of an automated world.


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