World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland wrestled with topics ranging from the impact of robots on jobs to gender and wealth inequality, the MSCI World equity index fell to its lowest level since July 2013. (Reuters Photo/Ruben Sprich)

Indonesian Leaders Join Ranks of Global Elite in Davos for WEF


JANUARY 20, 2016

Davos. From Facebook to the Lippo Group; from US Vice President Joe Biden to Trade Minister Thomas Lembong, the world’s top companies and leaders are gathered in Davos, Switzerland, this week for the annual World Economic Forum meeting.

Every year between Jan 19th and 23rd, the Swiss alpine town of Davos is transformed from a laid-back ski resort town to a global hub with long traffic lines and the world’s elite bustling from one meeting to another. This year is no different as over 40 heads of state and government as well as 2,500 leaders from business and society convene at the 46th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.

The theme for this year’s meeting is “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution” as well critical current issues such as security, climate change and the “new normal” global growth and commodity prices.

Indonesia is well represented at the WEF with Trade Minister Thomas leading a delegation of about 20 government and business leaders, including Lippo Group chief executive James Riady; chairman of Royal Golden Eagle Sukanto Tanoto; Anindya Bakrie from Bakrie Group; Budi Sadikin, president director of Bank Mandiri and Husodo Angkusobroto, chairman of Gunung Sewu Kencana.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution — which includes developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine-learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and genetics and biotechnology — will cause widespread disruption not only to business models but also to labor markets over the next five years, with enormous change predicted in the skill sets needed to thrive in the new landscape, according to a new report, The Future of Jobs, published by the World Economic Forum.

In terms of overall impact, the report indicates that the nature of change over the next five years is such that as many as 7.1 million jobs could be lost through redundancy, automation or disintermediation, with the greatest losses in white-collar office and administrative roles.

This loss is predicted to be partially offset by the creation of 2.1 million new jobs, mainly in more specialized “job families,” such as computer and mathematics or architecture and engineering.

These predictions are likely to be relatively conservative and leave no room for complacency. Yet the impact of disruption will vary considerably across industry and gender, as well as job type. For example, healthcare is expected to experience the greatest negative impact in terms of jobs in the next five years, followed jointly by energy and financial services and investors.

The industry that stands to create the most jobs, perhaps less surprisingly, is information and communication technology, followed by professional services and media, entertainment and information professionals.

“Without urgent and targeted action today to manage the near-term transition and build a workforce with future proof skills, governments will have to cope with ever-growing unemployment and inequality, and businesses with a shrinking consumer base,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

Representing some 50 million workers in industries that will be impacted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, IndustriALL Global Union said that industrial change must not come at the cost social justice. Although wealth is being created and concentrated at a record pace, the number of jobs created per unit of wealth accumulated has dropped catastrophically.

“There must be a Just Transition for workers affected by both the technological transformation of industry and global efforts to reduce carbon emissions,” it said in a statement.

“We need a fair transition to a low-carbon economy that respects and protects present-day workers and their communities, while creating new decent work in sustainable industries.”