Data To Watch In 2024, From Digital Jobs To Climate Change And Health

Lights
  • AI’s impact, digital jobs, healthcare system transformation, geopolitical risks, and climate change are just some of the key issues for 2024.
  • The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, 15-19 January, aims to revitalize cooperation on these issues to advance resilience, growth and security.
  • Here we delve into the data behind the themes for discussion at Davos 2024 that will shape the year ahead.

66% of risk analysts surveyed say extreme weather is an immediate risk. 56% of chief economists expect a weaker global economy in 2024. 40% of potential global digital jobs are in accounting, legal and finance. $12.5 trillion could be the cost of lost global productivity and GDP as a result of climate health impacts.

These are just some of the metrics and insights coming out of World Economic Forum data that will inform discussions at Davos 2024 and will shape the year ahead.

While Leaders must try to end conflict and limit the worst impacts of climate change, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies present opportunities to enhance services like healthcare and education – and to redesign the world of work.

Here we delve into that data and highlight the key metrics you need to know in 2024.

A testing time for the global economy

It’s difficult to find much in the way of positive news on the global economy. Yes, the rampant inflation that has defined the last year shows signs of easing but, overall, the outlook can be summarized as weak and uncertain.

The January 2024 edition of the World Economic Forum’s Chief Economist’s Outlook predicts a period of “protracted weakness in global economic conditions and widening regional divergence”.

Our survey of chief economists sees expectations in negative territory.

56%

Of chief economists expect a weaker global economy in 2024

4.8%

The predicted rate of global inflation, down from 9.2% in 2022

2.9%

The IMF has downgraded its forecast for global growth in 2024

Economists predict wide regional divergence for the global economy. Image: World Economic Forum

Chief economists predict the strongest economic performance will be found in South Asia, the report finds. Some 93% and 86% of respondents are expecting moderate or stronger in the region. China is a notable exception, as weak consumption and production limit growth.

Perhaps the starkest outlook is for Europe, where 77% of chief economists – double the number from the last survey – are now predicting weak, or very weak growth.

Is this the year digital jobs go global?

The acronym WFH was born during the pandemic and millions of workers continue to work from home, either full-time or on a hybrid basis. A white paper, published by the World Economic Forum, in partnership with Capgemini, is shedding light on jobs that could be filled by digital nomads working anywhere in the world.

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The Rise of Global Digital Jobs analyzed thousands of jobs and the tasks involved, to determine how many roles could become truly global digital jobs.

73m

The number of workers whose jobs can be done from anywhere

218

Job types, out of 5,400 analyzed, could become global roles

40%

It found that higher-earning professionals in developed countries are more likely to benefit from the rise in global digital jobs.

The distribution of potentially digital global jobs in 2030. Image: World Economic Forum/Capgemini

The report concludes that when properly managed, the rise of global digital jobs is a net positive for workers and employers, alike: “Global digital work presents an opportunity to utilize talent around the world, enabling employers to broaden their recruitment pools and countries to enhance their output, whether through capitalizing on demographic dividends or widening accessibility to good jobs.”

These are the biggest global risks of 2024

Every year we ask around 1,500 global experts what they consider to be the most severe risks facing people and planet.

The Global Risks Report 2024 takes the short- and long-term view, looking at immediate threats and those that will dominate the risk landscape 10 years from now. With conflict, climate change and economic crises afflicting the world, this is how respondents ranked the most serious immediate risks.

66%

Extreme weather

53%

AI-generated misinformation and disinformation

46%

Social and/or political polarization

42%

Cost-of-living crisis

39%

Cyberattacks

The threat from misinformation and disinformation is amplified in 2024 with multiple elections in leading economies, including the United States and the United Kingdom. These countries and others are also impacted by the third-ranked risk, societal polarization. Divisive issues including immigration and border control will be a major campaigning point during election campaigns.

The 10-year risk outlook is dominated by climate-related threats. This comes as little surprise given the slow progress the world is making on effort to limit global warming. At the closing of the COP28 climate summit in December 2023, the United Nations warned world leaders they had failed to signal an end to the era of fossil fuels.

The global outlook of risks for the next 2 and 10 years. Image: World Economic Forum

Limiting the health impacts of climate change

Climate change impacts are most frequently viewed through a lens focused on the environment or biodiversity loss. However, the warming global climate is having a profound impact on our health.

Quantifying the Impact of Climate Change on Human Health warns of millions of climate-related deaths and a related economic cost that runs into trillions of dollars. This new report, a partnership between the World Economic Forum and management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, makes a number of sobering predictions for 2050 in the event we fail to control rising global temperatures.

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14.5m

$1.1t

$12.5t

Lost global productivity and GDP as a result of climate health impacts

Projection of health outcomes triggered by climate events. Image: World Economic Forum/Oliver Wyman

The report breaks down the projections for climate-related deaths, looking at the type of incidents most likely to lead to loss of life. Without mitigation, 8.5 million people will perish in floods by 2025, it suggests. The Asia-Pacific region is most at risk from flooding.

Droughts pose the second-highest threat, with an estimated total of 3.2 million deaths.

Heatwaves will prove to be another major killer, according to the report. It projects the loss of 1.6 million lives by 2050, with people above the age of 65 most at risk. Reduced work capacity during extreme heat events means they are likely to result in the highest economic cost of all events studied.

AI, data and digital are transforming healthcare systems

The potential for digital technology to improve the health of entire populations has been recognized for many years. However, delivering on that potential requires a new approach to global healthcare systems.

In collaboration with Boston Consulting Group, the World Economic Forum has published a new study: Transforming Healthcare: Navigating Digital Health with a Value-Driven Approach.

The report finds no shortage of digital innovation in healthcare systems, but concludes that progress towards better health outcomes for millions of people is being stifled by a lack of collaboration among stakeholders across the public and private sectors.

With more collaboration and use of digital technology, including AI, the report envisions a world of quality healthcare for all. The statistics below demonstrate how the digitization of healthcare is already bringing benefits.

50%

Faster treatment for in-patients via the use of digital health sensors

2,500

Hard-to-reach communities gain access to healthcare via digital tools

73%

Reduced time to intervention with alerts provided by digital health tech

Digital applications are already having an impact on healthcare systems. Image: World Economic Forum/Boston Consulting Group

These early successes show how just how beneficial the digitization of healthcare could be for patients and providers.

The report concludes that digitization and collaboration is “an opportunity for governments and healthcare system leaders to invest in the health of their population, with improvements in healthcare clearly delivering value to all aspects of society. Digital health also presents an opportunity for the private sector to invest in and build businesses, which leads to better health. But to succeed, public and private stakeholders must collaborate and focus on catalyzing change over the long term and at the system-wide level”.

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Cybersecurity leaders fear AI hands advantage to attackers

As we head into 2024, an increasingly polarized geopolitical landscape is driving up the risk of cyberattacks and a related in investment in cyber defences.

The 2024 edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Cybersecurity Outlook, published in partnership with Accenture, finds organizations are struggling to overcome a double threat – emerging technology, including generative AI, and a wide disparity in the ability to mount adequate protections.

56%

Of leaders believe generative AI hands an advantage to cyberattackers

31%

The decline in organizations able to mount viable cyber defences

52%

The number of public organizations citing skills and resource gaps as a barrier to cybersecurity

The cyber skills and talent shortage continues to widen at an alarming rate. Image: World Economic Forum/Accenture

These and many other pressing global issues are currently under discussion at the Forum’s 54th Annual Meeting in Davos, 15-19 January. This year’s event brings together over 100 governments, all major international organizations, 1,000 of the Forum’s Partners, as well as civil society leaders, experts, youth representatives, social entrepreneurs, and media outlets. 

The path to improved energy efficiency

Energy shocks and rising prices have put into sharp focus energy use, demand and efficiency in the last two years. Indeed, at COP28, more than 120 countries committed to doubling the pace of energy efficiency improvement.

In a new publication, the World Economic Forum explores how businesses and countries can boost energy management and efficiency and reduce carbon intensity.

Reducing our energy demand could see significant energy savings. Image: World Economic Forum

Reducing our energy demand could see significant energy savings. Image: World Economic Forum

With rising demand, and a growing global population, policies and collaboration will be essential to the careful management of energy consumption and to reducing our carbon intensity.

The five pillars of global collaboration

The start of 2024 once again comes against the backdrop of a complex geopolitical picture.

This challenging environment raises the question of how to better understand and foster collaboration. The World Economic Forum’s Global Cooperation Barometer is a tool for leaders to do just this, and breaks cooperation down into five pillars – trade and capital flows, innovation and technology, climate and natural capital, health and wellness, and peace and security.

The five pillars. Image: World Economic Forum

The five pillars. Image: World Economic Forum

This knowledge and understanding will enable leaders in business and government to help build a more prosperous and sustainable world, both this year and beyond.

By: Gayle Markovitz (Lead Editor, World Economic Forum) and Simon Torkington (Senior Writer, Forum Agenda)
Originally published at: World Economic Forum


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