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Digitization: Expert Says Most University Degrees Will Be Obsolete By 2025

Isaiah Onwuanumba

Director of Growth Implementation Solutions, Frost & Sullivan Africa, Wayne Houghton, has said that by 2025, jobs which were common place in 2015 will no longer exist.

According to him, students graduating in 2016, will have obsolete qualifications for which there will no longer be a profession by 2025.

Speaking in a statement made available to The UNION via email, Houghton said by 2025, front-line military personnel will be replaced with robots; private bankers and wealth managers will be replaced with algorithms; telemarketers, data entry capturers, tax preparers, lawyers, accountants, actuaries, statisticians and consulting engineers will be replaced with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

According to him, new business models, like those of Uber and Alibaba, are already industry-shaping disruptors, and each day, new digital innovators are emerging to cause disintermediation and disruption across every industry imaginable.

“Traditional enterprises, whilst presently successful by today’s standards, are scrambling to make sense of business digitisation in order to stay relevant in the digital future. Many are attempting to create new digital business models which will eventually cannibalise their traditional business, rather than capitulating to new disruptive digital start-ups.

“Companies are also digitising their products and services, along with operational processes and customer channels. Over 70 percent of top fortune 500 companies have plans to offer their products as a digital service by 2020.

“Presently, the 10 most valuable start-ups globally are estimated to have a value of $172.7 billion – all embracing digital platform based business models. Around 90 percent of the business models in 2020 will be driven by the cloud”, he stated.

Houghton also said that “globally, the number of connected devices will nearly quadruple by 2025, significantly altering the skills employers hold most valuable. Increasing connectivity will change how employees choose to work (for example: remotely, part-time, independently, or dispersed), and provide employers with a spectrum of hiring options.

“Millennials, most of whom are digital natives, will comprise an estimated 48.3% of the global labour force in 2025, while those aged 60 and older will comprise 9.9% (compared with 7.9% in 2015).

“The line between what has traditionally been business and IT is becoming more and more blurred. Largely due to the early adoption and impact of digital marketing, The Chief Marketing Officer or CMO, now controls a bigger “IT” budget and influence than the CIO. This is only set to increase and expand across the organisation, as digital natives become future business leaders”.



He maintained that “as robots, AI and Digital algorithms continue to replace many jobs and professions; new and emerging professions by 2025 will focus more on human interaction, augmented through digital mechanisms. Jobs requiring uniquely human characteristics, such as cultural deftness, caretaking, or empathy, and creative thinking, are those least threatened by automation”.

“The ability to work anywhere, anytime is fuelling the digital nomad trend, which is highly appealing to millennials, but will also blur political and economic boundaries, and test national labour codes.

“Artificial Intelligence, its subfields, and automation will create some specific reflecting trends associated with new and emerging technology advances”, he said.

Houghton said digitsl penetaration will however create its own sort of jobs which he listed to include: Artificial Intelligence technology and automation salesperson; Specialist programmers; Cybersecurity experts; Engineering psychologists; Robot and automation technology manufacturer, distributor, servicer, and refurbisher; Technology-specific trainer; Neuro-implant technicians; Virtual health care specialist and Virtual reality experience designer.

He suggested that digital transformation cannot be ignored without becoming irrelevant, adding that an adaptive digital strategy is imperative.

“The Digital workforce will be largely millennial, and significantly different from today in terms of culture, leadership style and skills. Artificial Intelligence, robots and Digital algorithms will automate many professions, but jobs requiring uniquely human characteristics – or are critical to the development of Digital solutions – will be in great demand by 2025.

“A holistic digital transformation strategy, which considers the digital workforce along with the business model, process and customer channel dimensions, will be imperative for organisations wishing to remain relevant in the next 10 years”, he stated.


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