Green economy could offset jobs lost to automation in APAC

green economy automation
Image by Dee Angelo | Bigstockphoto

APAC’s five largest economies will see millions of job losses to automation – but the rise of the ‘green economy’ could offset that, depending on the business sector.

The future of jobs is a hot topic of discussion nowadays. With technological advancements happening at an ever-increasing pace, it’s no wonder that many are concerned about the possibility of automation taking over many jobs that have traditionally been done by humans.

Forrester’s “Future of Jobs Forecast” found that the five largest economies in the region — India, China, South Korea, Australia and Japan — could lose up to 63 million jobs to automation. In the IT industry specifically, they forecast that 13.7 million jobs could be lost in the Asia Pacific region alone.

However, according to Forrester, the green economy may help to compensate for some employment losses as more governments commit to carbon neutrality.

Shifting to a green economy

This will include increased use of renewable energy, ecologically friendly construction, and intelligent cities by 2040. Roles around the green economy, from solar panel installation to policymaking, are expected to grow.

In fact, a World Economic Forum report, Mission 2070: A Green New Deal for a Net Zero India, found that a shift to a net zero economy could actually create around 50 million jobs in India alone.

This is significant because the country is projected to be one of the worst hit by automation, with Forrester predicting that around 69% of 160 million new workers in the next 20 years will be affected.

Radical rethink of workforce strategies

In the IT industry, Forrester reports that the job losses due to automation are expected to be much greater than the number of new green jobs that will be created. This is a cause for concern, but analysts stress that it’s important to remember that jobs have always been lost to automation throughout history. What’s different now is the speed at which it’s happening.

“To prepare for the changes brought on by automation, the five largest economies in APAC will have to radically rethink their workforce strategies. While each economy faces its own challenges, common focus areas such as hiring more female workers can help offset working population declines,” said Michael O’Grady, principal forecast analyst at Forrester. “In addition, investing in STEM education, technology workforce training, and protecting the rights of freelance workers will become of utmost importance.”

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