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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Among the thorniest questions hanging over experts puzzling out the future of work is what kind of new jobs will be enabled by AI and robotics — and how many there will be, relative to the work that is likely to disappear due to automation.

The big picture: Some predict wild, new jobs, like "cyber calamity forecasters." But in the near term, one likely outcome — already beginning to play out — is that people will be asked to do work that was previously done by 2 or 3 people with very different skills.

Details: These amalgams are what Deloitte is calling "superjobs" in its latest report on human capital, released on Thursday. These future jobs combine "activities and job responsibilities that traditionally would never be brought together," says Erica Volini, Deloitte's U.S. Human Capital Leader.

  • At a big bank — Volini wouldn't say which — investment advisers are starting to become career coaches, too. That's because peoples' skill sets are becoming as important an indicator of their future wealth as investments, she says.
  • At Cleveland Clinic, doctors and nurses are un-specializing, Volini says. Now, its doctors are expected not only to bring in medical expertise, but also to give top-notch bedside care.
  • In manufacturing, Volini sees a potential new line of work in "robot-teaming coordinators": employees who implement automation and work with software developers to train the robots that will carry it out.

If this sounds like more work for fewer people, well, it might be. If history is any indication, a company that can consolidate 100 jobs into 50 people might jump at the opportunity to shave off a good chunk of a department.

Meanwhile, these polymathic super-workers will only make up a slice of the entire workforce. "As we see the emergence of 'superjobs,' we're also seeing growth in commodity jobs, service jobs, and micro-tasks," Volini tells Axios.

  • The latter includes low-paid, largely undesirable tech work, like what's being done by the "digital janitors" Axios' Erica Pandey profiled last week.
  • In 10 years, Volini predicts, 20% to 30% of jobs will be "superjobs," 10% to 20% will low-wage, low-skill jobs, and the middle 60% to 70% will be "hybrid jobs" that require both technical and soft skills.

The bottom line: As Steve reported on Wednesday, economists say automation is destroying jobs faster than it's creating new ones. The big remaining question is whether or not the best new jobs will be widely accessible.

Go deeper

4 mins ago - Technology

Jack Dorsey to step down as Twitter CEO

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Jack Dorsey will step down as CEO of Twitter, the company announced Monday. He will be succeeded by CTO Parag Agrawal.

The big picture: Dorsey is also the CEO of financial payments company Square, which he co-founded in 2009, and has become a crypto evangelist in recent years.

Tracking the pandemic's unequal impact

Expand chart
Data: Morning Consult/Axios; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

The pandemic was bound to hit the most economically vulnerable among us the hardest. New polling data from Morning Consult, out this morning, shows the degree to which those difficulties were more concentrated among people of color.

Catch up quick: The Morning Consult/Axios Inequality Index has tracked the economic experience of adults in three wage groups since May 2020. We began publishing the findings in May of this year, and six months in, we’re slicing the data a little differently — and looking at inequality between ethnicities.

2 hours ago - Health

WHO says Omicron poses "very high" risk

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaking in Geneva in October. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization said Monday in a new risk assessment that it believes the COVID-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk to the globe because it may be more transmissible than other strains of the virus.

Why it matters: Though the WHO acknowledged there are still many uncertainties associated with the variant, the agency said it believes the likelihood of potential further spread of Omicron around the world is "high."