Over 50% workers worldwide fear losing their jobs amid COVID-19 crisis

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New Delhi (NVI): More than half of the working adults worldwide fear losing their jobs in the next 12 months, according to a survey measuring labor market insecurity inflicted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The new Ipsos survey, conducted on behalf of the World Economic Forum, shows that these workers are outnumbered by those who think their employers will help them retrain on the current job for the jobs of the future (67 per cent).

The survey of 12,000 employed adults from 27 countries finds that of the 54 per cent who are concerned, 17 per cent are “very concerned” and 37 per cent “somewhat concerned” about losing their job.

The size of the gap between optimism about reskilling and pessimism about job losses depends on where you live, the WEF said in a statement.

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated trends towards automation and the use of artificial intelligence. Jobs will certainly go – but new ones that require different skills are emerging, the statement added.

Similarly, governments are considering the longer-term labour market implications of maintaining, withdrawing or partly continuing the strong crisis support they are providing to businesses to cover wages and maintain jobs.

Moreover, the prevalence job-loss concern in the next year ranges from 75 per cent in Russia, 73 per cent in Spain, and 71 per cent in Malaysia, to just 26 per cent in Germany, 30 per cent in Sweden, and 36 per cent in the Netherlands and the United States.

The Ipsos survey also finds that two thirds of employed adults say they can learn and develop skills needed for the jobs of the future through their current employer: 23 per cent are “very much able” to do so, and 44 per cent “somewhat able”.

Across the 27 countries, the perceived ability to learn and develop those skills on the job is most widespread in Spain (86 per ), Peru (84 per cent), and Mexico (83 per cent) and least common in Japan (45 per cent), Sweden (46 per cent), and Russia (48 per cent).

The countries where those who can gain new skills on the job outnumber those who are concerned about losing their job by the largest margins are the United States and Germany (by 40 percentage points).

However, in reverse, job loss concern is more prevalent than perceived ability to acquire skills in Russia (by 28 points) and, to a lesser extent in Malaysia, Poland, Japan, Turkey, and South Korea.

“Rather than narrowly focusing on short-term savings from layoffs or automation, therefore, businesses that invest in human capital will find that there is a compelling financial and nonfinancial business case to reskill at-risk workers,” the WEF said.

Earlier, a report by the World Economic Forum suggests that human capital is a crucial asset of any business.

It highlighted how in an age of ubiquitous technology, it is human skills, creativity and capability that will form the competitive edge for any organization. Financing and implementing a “reskilling revolution” is a critical investment for business, workers and economies alike.