A recent study conducted by the McKinsey Global Institute has found that nearly 12 million American workers may need to switch jobs by 2030. The study examined various factors such as the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), an aging population, and the growth of e-commerce to determine how they could impact employment in the United States.
The researchers projected that approximately 11.8 million workers will have to change jobs within the next decade, not because they want to, but because they have to. Of these workers, around nine million may need to find employment in entirely new industries.
According to the study, lower-wage workers are expected to be the most impacted by these changes, being up to 14 times more likely to require a change in occupation by 2030. On the other hand, higher-wage professions in industries like healthcare, technology, and transportation are likely to experience significant growth.
The study identified four key factors that are driving these projected shifts in workforce demand. First is the automation of jobs, particularly in office support, customer service and sales, food services, and production work. Up to 30% of current work hours in the US could be automated by 2030.
The second factor is the continued rise of online shopping, which could lead to a decrease in the demand for salespersons in brick-and-mortar stores but an increase in demand for transportation and warehouse workers.
The aging population is the third factor contributing to these changes. Different age groups tend to have different spending patterns, which could result in decreased demand for certain jobs and increased demand for healthcare workers.
Lastly, despite the recent increase in US manufacturing, productivity gains could lead to fewer workers being required in the industry.
The study's authors emphasized that the extent to which these shifts will be positive or negative for the US workforce is still uncertain. It will depend on the country's ability to retrain vulnerable workers and facilitate their transition into new roles. This will require significant investment by companies, schools, and governments.
While there are challenges ahead, the researchers remain optimistic, pointing to historical examples of successful transitions in the workforce. They believe that with the right investments and a more skills-based labor market, the US can navigate these changes and ensure a positive outcome for its workers.