McKinsey&Company June 29, 2018
the Shortlist
Weekly need-to-know content
Welcome to the Shortlist: new ideas on timely topics, plus a few insights into our people. Get it in your inbox every Friday. Scroll down for summer-reading picks from Manish Chopra, senior partner in our healthcare practice and expert on mindfulness.
At this time of year, many of us might confess to some mid-meeting musing on the so-called lazy days of summer. But how to parse fact from fantasy on the changing pace and nature of work more broadly?
On the upside, artificial intelligence and automation technologies can do much to lift the global economy at a time when aging and falling birth rates are acting as a drag on growth. Our research suggests we need these improvements not only to provide value for businesses, but also to make once-unimaginable progress on some of our most difficult challenges, in areas like health and climate.
But this new era of driverless cars and human-free warehouses also creates understandable angst. By our estimate, roughly half the activities people are paid to do globally could theoretically be automated.
That’s a big number, but when you break it down, it’s less scary. Only five percent of current jobs are fully automatable (and thus likely to disappear). Most will just change, with roughly a third of specific activities potentially automated away. In our midpoint scenario, by 2030, 400 million jobs could be lost to automation—but at least 555 million new jobs could be created, which would more than compensate.
We believe that (barring extreme scenarios) there will be enough work to go around. But what—and where—will these good jobs be? How will we acquire the skills we need to adapt to the changing world of work? How can we transition from a system that trains us in our 20s to one that retrains us in our 30s, 40s, and 50s? How benign is the so-called gig economy?
At this point, societies are grappling with more questions than answers, which is likely to be the case for some time. But remember: human beings can still control the future—and it doesn’t have to be dystopian.
Shift your skills, shift your mind-set
We all know the demand for technological skills has been growing. But over the next decade or so, the need for soft skills—social and emotional—will also accelerate dramatically.
Shift your skills, shift your mind-set exhibit
Focus on the pivotal roles | Dominic Barton, McKinsey’s global managing partner for the past nine years, talks about how CEOs and boards can get strategic about managing human capital. On July 1, Dominic is handing the baton to Kevin Sneader; we’ll have an interview with Kevin in our next issue.
The future of insurance | Along with the impact of consumers’ shift to hybrid insurance, the popularity of price comparison websites, and the race to go digital, insurers are being forced to re-examine their product mix, geographic focus, and capabilities. We look at trends in life, property and casualty, and the health-insurance market.
How OEMs can seize the high-tech future | We surveyed construction and farming companies to find out how original equipment manufacturers can help them generate value and drive higher profits. Both industries face unique challenges, but the enthusiasm is there to embrace technology and chart a digital future.
WHAT WE’RE READING | Manish Chopra
Manish Chopra, a leader in our healthcare practice, is dean of the Inner Wisdom Retreat, which helps executives gain clarity and purpose through contemplative practices like meditation. Manish chronicled the impact of meditation on his life and work in The Equanimous Mind.
Manish Chopra
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg | A remarkable, research-based synthesis from an award-winning New York Times reporter about how habits are formed and how they can be changed. Equally relevant to personal and business life, the book includes examples of people who have successfully transformed their behavior by learning to understand conditioning and the patterns that shape their lives. Powerful and uplifting!
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall | A journalist’s inspiring inquiry into how the body evolved to incorporate distance running as a means of survival. This book sustained my resolve to run the Rome marathon last year and has put me on a path to embracing running as part of my exercise regimen.
Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana | Written by a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk, this is a good starter book on how to begin practicing meditation. As the title suggests, the concept of mindfulness is simply laid out in a way that can appeal to a broad readership.
We must teach ourselves how to have a more comfortable and creative relationship with uncertainty.
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