The replacement of jobs by machines has been happening continuously since the Industrial Revolution, but there is growing speculation that the figures are set to boom over the next decade.
Last year saw IT giant Infosys release 11,000 jobs due to automation, claiming improved revenue per employee percentages and a need to be innovative for its clients.
“Advancing machine intelligence is the most important problem facing the world today.”
Robert Schiller, Nobel economist
The World Economic Forum’s recent report suggests that by 2025, robots “will perform more current work tasks than humans, compared to 71% being performed by humans today.”
Terrifying, but the important phrase in the prediction being “current work tasks.”
Yes, there are some professions that are facing extinction, but for every role lost between now and 2022, there will be 1.77 new roles created.
The challenge we have as humans is to manage this transition as smoothly as possible. This means upskilling where we need to and protecting those at risk.
What jobs will be impacted by automation?
According to the report, the top 10 emerging roles in 2022 will be:
1. Data Analysts and Scientists
2. Al and Machine Learning Specialists
3. General and Operations Managers
4. Software and Applications Developers and Analysts
5. Sales and Marketing Professionals
6. Big Data Specialists
7. Digital Transformation Specialists
8. New Technology Specialists
9. Organisational Development Specialists
10. Information Technology Services
These roles will make up the 133 million created by the evolution of machines and increasing use of automation.
Of the 75 million declining roles, the World Economic Forum considers the below as the top 10:
1. Data Entry Clerks
2. Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
3. Administrative and Executive Secretaries
4. Assembly and Factory Workers
5. Client Information and Customer Service Workers
6. Business Services and Administration Managers
7. Accountants and Auditors
8. Material-Recording and Stock-Keeping Clerks
9. General and Operations Managers
10. Postal Service Clerks
AI is changing all roles
Automation affects certain tasks as well as roles, so even those that are safe may see their day-to-day activities change with the introduction of AI tools. Think scheduling bots, minutes capturing software and automated research tools.
These tools will present opportunities for businesses to expand existing roles. Your employees will have time freed up to take on more knowledge-based jobs.
For example, in Only Humans Need Apply, Davenport and Kirby investigate how the role of an insurance underwriter is changing. Whilst the traditional core of the job can be tackled by automation tools, underwriters can step up to take more responsibility for portfolio management of clients – using skills that computers currently struggle with like critical thinking and negotiation.
Similarly, Jumar’s bespoke policy management system helped our insurance client to derive better value from its employees. Automated tasks enabled Shipowner’s underwriters to have more time to serve the club’s members, to develop business and relationships, and to work on projects that require creative input.
How to prepare for automation in the workplace
“Artificial intelligence and robotics are progressing at such a pace that machines will soon have the capability to do the job of humans in a whole range of professions and industries. And while this might be good for efficiency and productivity, it could leave thousands facing redundancy and change the face of the workplace forever.”
Jeff Phipps, Managing Director at ADP UK
Businesses in competitive markets will be forced to utilise AI tools if they want to survive. The productivity improvements and the money savings will affect the bottom line and ultimately enable better pricing for customers.
However, the value of humans that understand your business, and are motivated to work for you, is too high to simply replace your workforce with machines. Whilst artificial intelligence is threatening jobs, it’s also creating new opportunities – especially for knowledge workers. Until AI is capable of critical thinking, knowledge working will remain a human task. The challenge is helping your employees to upskill so they can provide value where automation tools cannot.
Automation will enable businesses to be more competitive in their markets, but knowledge workers will provide the added value that differentiates one organisation from the others. Business leaders should be ensuring that these knowledge workers are in place and being as productive as possible.
If you’re looking to leverage new technologies, Jumar’s architecture practise can help you determine the transition needed.
Jumar’s IT recruitment division is available to help you build your team of knowledge workers with the best IT talent in the UK.