Making the future of mobility work

How the new transportation ecosystem could reshape jobs and employment

The Report

This article explores how the future of mobility could impact companies’ talent needs and the broader workforce. It begins by examining the social and technological shifts that seem to be leading to a new mobility ecosystem. It then identifies the overarching trends that are likely to impact labor across the mobility landscape. Finally, the article looks at a handful of specific sectors— automotive, trucking, and eldercare—to provide a glimpse at how these trends might play out in different contexts. Throughout, the aim is to examine which jobs are likely to be most affected, what new opportunities could arise and what skills would be needed to realize them, and how organizations can prepare themselves and their people for both the future of mobility and the future of work.

Viewpoints / key findings

The real challenge for workers may lie not in being replaced by a machine but, rather, in how to reskill to work side-by-side with the new tools and capabilities that advanced technologies bring. Three overarching trends are likely to emerge from the future of mobility that could impact what and how work gets done:

  • Automation and augmentation. The emergence of increasingly sophisticated cognitive technologies, coupled with the growing ability to cheaply monitor all manner of objects via the Internet of Things, suggests the scope of tasks open to machine control could increase dramatically. Self-driving cars and trucks pose a challenge to the more than 3.8 million professional motor vehicle operators in the United States. Beyond autonomous vehicles, everything from insurance underwriting, to parking enforcement, to auto loan originations could see an array of discrete tasks increasingly being executed by some combination of sensors, data analytics, and cognitive technologies.
  • From physical to digital, goods to services. As personally owned vehicles may be decoupled from the concept of individual mobility, especially in urban areas, so too could value increasingly shift away from physical assets and toward the digital capabilities that enable safe, clean, efficient, and customized travel on demand. As value shifts from the physical to the digital and from goods to mobility services, so too could what skills are in demand and how they are valued. While the technology-focused jobs that will likely define the future of mobility require higher skills, offer better wages, and promise increase productivity, there may be far fewer of them relative to today’s extended transportation industry.
  • Better mobility could drive demand for more mobility. There is tremendous potential value to be unlocked from a reimagined mobility ecosystem. As mobility potentially becomes cheaper, faster, and more convenient, new population segments can gain access, and overall demand could increase. This could point to significant demand for jobs, with at least the potential to offset or even negate any attrition that automation or shifting sources of value creation might cause. 
(English version)
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