From zombie job to angel job: transition not too difficult: PwC


Most of the 1.6 million people whose jobs may become obsolete through digitalisation and automation will be able to use their knowledge and skills in new, future-proof job, a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers has claimed.

Although the government has propped up many sectors during the corona crisis, such as transport, tourism, leisure and retail, many of the jobs that have been saved in this way are likely to become less relevant and disappear anyway, head economist at PwC Jan Willem Velthuijsen said.

However, the skills needed for these so-called ‘zombie jobs’ are not wasted, Velthuijsen said. ‘Our research shows that 82% of the skills people have can be used in other jobs. The jobs may be obsolete but the skills are not.’

Retraining and additional training are key to the changeover to new technology-driven jobs and will help people move from a zombie job to a future proof ‘angel job’, Velthuijsen said.

‘A call centre worker, whose job may well come under pressure, still has a large number of the skills necessary for a stable administrative function while stewardesses have many skills which would make them good care workers,’ he said.

Retraining and additional training are part of the solution, but a better balance between supply and demand is also needed, Velthuijsen said.

‘There are great differences per region. We have found that the job of receptionist, for instance, can be under pressure in one region but not to the same extent in another. There will always be regional differences for different jobs. The solution in these cases is not training or changing your profession but  to move to where the job is.

PwC said the focus must shift from what employees want to what employers need. The consultancy recommends that government subsidies should be granted more often to retraining schemes which come with the guarantee of a job.

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