Empowering UK Business Leaders to Harness AI and Revolutionise Workforce Transformation 

The world of work is in a digital revolution. Artificial intelligence (AI) and other disruptive technologies are predicted to have an impact akin to the Industrial Revolution, in a fraction of the time.

Automation is anticipated to result in the potential loss of numerous jobs, while millions of workers may need to transition away from sunset jobs  * (to sunrise jobs **. It is an enormous challenge but presents a huge opportunity for UK businesses and government to invest in the skills required for tomorrow’s economy. 

It's hard to predict exactly what all those new skills may be, as many of the jobs of the future haven’t been created yet, but we know there already exists an enormous skills gap in sunrise roles. Whilst new technology will render many roles obsolete , it will also create many more, for data scientists, analysts, and machine learning experts, while the transition to the net-zero economy offers the UK a chance to leverage its deep experience in the oil and gas industry to become a world leader in green energy. However, there is a significant shortage of workers possessing the necessary skills to fill these emerging positions.

Be honest with your employees on the impact of AI

Retraining, upskilling, and redeploying many workers in mid-career could easily give rise to social divisions and economic uncertainty of the kind cited in the Global Risks Report 2024 recently published by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Marsh McLennan. Organisations can mitigate these risks by prioritising the assessment of how their technology and transformation strategies will affect their workforce. They should be honest with their employees regarding the potential impact of new technologies on their roles and working conditions. Organisations should provide necessary training and upskilling opportunities to individuals whose jobs may be at risk, enabling them to transition to alternative internal positions or, if necessary, ensure that they remain employable outside of the organisation. Research shows that older workers are not resistant to new technology. In fact, our research has found they want to engage with it, because they know they will have to work for longer, so they want to have the skills to remain relevant in the workplace. But there’s a fear factor, which organisations can help their workers overcome by educating them on digitisation and automation. 

It doesn’t need to be a negative process. Automation can free people from the manual, repetitive tasks involved in hand work to focus on more stimulating or fulfilling heart or head work. AI could enrich people’s working lives and create more meaningful work.

Help tackle the global rise of inequality and insecurity

Employers can also mitigate other major social and economic risks cited by the Global Risks Report 2024. The report regards the cost-of-living crisis as being the world’s major threat, but with rising economic headwinds and stubborn inflationary pressures, employers won’t be able to offer large pay rises. Instead, they can make people’s lives easier by adjusting their employee benefit plans to mirror their everyday concerns. Who cares about a swanky onsite gym when your workforce’s big worry is about paying their monthly bills? Small changes, like flexible working, could have much bigger benefits at little cost, by saving employees money on travel and childcare.

Organisations can address rising social divisions and feelings of injustice by prioritising workplace equality, fair pay, and improved working conditions, as highlighted in the Global Risks Report 2024. By addressing employees' concerns in these areas, organisations can contribute to mitigating these growing worries and fostering a more inclusive and equitable work environment.

Technology mustn’t be seen as solely a threat. It presents an enormous opportunity too, and those organisations that grasp that challenge, by retraining and upskilling workers for the digital age, will reap the benefits of AI and offer their employees a better future in the world of work. 

The race to reskill is becoming increasingly competitive. The companies that proactively address the skills challenge will be best placed to rise to the challenges that a fast-changing technology landscape bring. Read our recent whitepaper ‘Skills as the new currency of work’ to find out how skills-based career frameworks can help.


* A sunset job refers to a job or occupation that is gradually becoming obsolete or less in demand due to technological advancements, market changes, or shifts in industry practices. 

** Sunrise jobs are emerging occupations or roles that are experiencing rapid growth and increasing demand due to technological advancements, market trends, or industry developments 

Related solutions
Related insights
Related products for purchase
Related Case Studies