• Two-thirds think their current employers will help retrain them to develop skills required for future jobs
  • In Germany, only 26% feared losing their jobs, compared to 36% in the U.S.
  • Global labor income declined an estimated 10.7%, or $3.5 trillion, during the first three quarters of 2020

More than one-half (54%) of employed adults across 27 countries surveyed by the World Economic Forum fear they will lose their jobs within the next 12 months as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.

Quite simply, it appears the pandemic has shattered career expectations for many.

Conducted by market research firm Ipsos on behalf of the Forum, the survey of more than 12,000 people also found that about two-thirds (67%) of respondents think their current employers will help retrain them to develop skills required for future jobs.

The magnitude of job worries depended greatly on where the respondents lived. In Russia, 75% of workers were worried about losing their jobs, followed by 73% in Spain, 71% in Malaysia.

But in Germany, only 26% had such fears, followed by 30% in Sweden, and 36% in the Netherlands and the U.S.

“The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated trends towards automation and the use of artificial intelligence,” the Forum stated. “Jobs will certainly go – but new ones that require different skills are emerging.”

The Forum further noted that, concurrently, governments are considering the “longer-term labor market implications” of maintaining, withdrawing or partly continuing the crisis support they are providing to businesses to cover wages and maintain jobs.

“The result is a disrupted labor market and uncertain prospects for 2021,” the Forum warned.

The International Labour Organization, or ILO, recently looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated labor markets in Latin America and the Caribbean.

ILO estimated that the ongoing crisis has led to the loss of at least 34 million jobs in the region – a scenario that is likely to expand already wide rates of inequality.

“We face an unprecedented challenge, that of rebuilding the region's labor markets, which implies facing structural failures that have worsened with the pandemic, such as low productivity, high informality, and inequality of income and opportunities of decent work,” said Vinícius Pinheiro, director of the ILO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.

However, in the third quarter, some recovery in local labor markets emerged.

Last month, ILO estimated that global labor income declined by 10.7%, or $3.5 trillion, during the first three quarters of 2020, versus the same period in 2019, due to COVID-19-relate job losses. (However, this figure excluded wage support provided by government stimulus measures).

The loss of income has particularly hit informal workers in developing and emerging economies.