The World Economic Forum has released its Future of Jobs report, looking at the biggest industries across the world, and how their employment numbers will change over the next five years.
In determining the biggest industries, the WEF report tracked the employment fields of over one billion employed people in the group’s 15 focus countries.
This includes the USA, UK, China, Japan, Australia, Italy, France, some middle eastern nations, south Pacific countries, and South Africa.
By far the biggest industry in the world is farming, fishing and forestry, which employs over 264 million people across the countries assessed.
The second biggest industry, employing “only” 98.7 million people, is manufacturing and production, followed by the office and admin sector, employing 96.9 million.
The World’s Biggest Industries
|1||Farming, Fishing and Forestry||264 365|
|2||Manufacturing and Production||98 723|
|3||Office and Administrative||96 928|
|4||Hospitality and Food Related||89 613|
|5||Transportation and Logistics||79 619|
|6||Business and Financial Operations||70 282|
|7||Sales and Related||65 787|
|8||Personal Care and Service||55 266|
|9||Construction and Extraction||53 404|
|11||Community, Social and Protective Services||38 727|
|12||Installation and Maintenance||26 887|
|13||Healthcare Practitioners and Technicians||18 799|
|14||Life, Physical, and Social sciences||15 663|
|15||Education and Training||14 659|
|16||Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media||14 628|
|17||Computer and Mathematica||12 605|
|18||Architecture and Engineering||12 511|
Looking at South Africa, the country is largely driven by sales and related jobs, followed by the transportation and logistics industry.
Biggest industries in South Africa
|+||Sales and Related||1 609|
|Transportation and Logistics||1 562|
|–||Office and Administrative||1 444|
|+||Manufacturing and Production||1 152|
|–||Construction and Extraction||896|
|Farming, Fishing and Forestry||705|
|–||Installation and Maintenance||652|
|=||Business, Legal and Financial||485|
|=||Computer, Mathematical and Science||259|
|Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media||219|
|=||Education and Training||186|
|–||Architecture and Engineering||137|
+ growing | – declining | = stable
How the market will change
According to the WEF, from an industry-level perspective, there is a modestly positive outlook for employment across most sectors over the 2015–2020 period.
“However, underneath this aggregate outlook there is once again significant relative growth in some job families and significant relative decline in others, resulting from the accelerating pace of transformation within many industries.”
The employment outlook for South Africa remains negative, the WEF said.
The group detailed how the above industries are expected to change over the next 5 years.
Over the period, the world is expected to see a big drop off in office and admin jobs – with some 4.7 million jobs being lost.
Meanwhile, the biggest boost in jobs is expected to be seen in the business and financial sector.
|Industry||2015 – 2020 Employee change (‘000)|
|Business and Financial Operations||+492|
|Computer and Mathematical||+405|
|Architecture and Engineering||+339|
|Sales and Related||+303|
|Education and Training||+66|
|Installation and Maintenance||-40|
|Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media||-151|
|Construction and Extraction||-497|
|Manufacturing and Production||-1 609|
|Office and Administrative||-4 759|
In South Africa, the WEF projects the following changes over the next 5 years:
|Financial Services and Investors||+1.25%|
|Information and Communication Technology||-3.75%|
|Basic and Infrastructure||-3.79%|
On a greater scale, the WEF’s survey showed that computer and mathematical job family – including data analysis and software and app developers – will experience very high growth.
This is not only in the field of ICT – but across a wide range of industries.
“In fact, employment growth for Computer and Mathematical roles is expected to be least pronounced in the Information and Communication Technology sector itself, hinting at the accelerated demand for data analysis skills and ICT literacy across, and uptake of these tools by, other industries,” the WEF said.
Two emerging job roles were identified by the group, which surveyed companies said were going to be vital in the coming years – namely data analysts, and specialised salespeople.
Other new specialties frequently mentioned include:
- New types of human resources and organizational development specialists,
- Engineering specialties such as materials, bio-chemicals, nanotech and robotics,
- Regulatory and government relations specialists,
- Geospatial information systems experts
- and Commercial and industrial designers