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The 2020 pandemic devastated a large swathe of the economy, but it also accelerated many digital transformation shifts already in progress for the American workforce. Digitizing was suddenly a higher priority as companies scrambled to maintain production and adequately manage supply chains with a workforce suddenly gone remote.
One banking executive noted that plans in the financial sector to achieve digital transformation were abruptly accelerated in the face of branch closures, by as much as five years in some cases. The changes were powered by banking institution’s already strong connectivity with technology and Big Data.
The likelihood of a reversal is slim; many bank branches are expected to simply never reopen, paving the way for automation of tasks, increased remote work, and a digital-first approach. This changes the type of skills that will be required from the workforce of the future.
The situation isn’t confined to banking and financial services; in a World Economic Forum survey, 80% of business leaders say they are accelerating plans for work automation. What does that mean for the Future of Jobs in 2021?
While it’s a common fear that automation will be the death knell for many jobs, the truth is that 10 million more jobs will be created by technological advances than are eradicated. However, these new jobs will require reskilling and upskilling of existing workforces. In-house learning and development are key to employee retention and employer success in 2021 and beyond.
Skill mismatches are being seen in areas that have already undergone significant disruption by AI, automation, and digital transformation. New roles are proving difficult to fill. Jobs related to data analytics; IT, mobile, and web design; and research and development are increasing, but the skilled workforce to fill them has been slow to manifest. Soft skills are also seeing an increase in demand, with customer service and care becoming a prime differentiator for companies striving to remain competitive.
Jobs that will be automated are primarily ones that involve repetitive tasks or redundant activity. Jobs that require manual labor and have low cognitive skill requirements are the ones most likely to be impacted:
As these jobs shift out of the realm of human staffing, your talent strategy will need to identify the new roles emerging, and implement employee training to fill knowledge gaps. 77% of organizations surveyed by McKinsey say they don’t expect the size of their workforces to change, and many plan to simply move displaced employees into new roles internally through workforce planning and upskilling initiatives.
According to McKinsey, the number of remote workers could settle in at as high as three to four times the level that was normal pre-pandemic. Many companies have realized that productivity and efficiency overall didn’t suffer, and overhead decreased with employees working from home.
McKinsey estimates that more than one out of five American workers can operate remotely three to five days a week as effectively as they could from an office. This opens up new possibilities for employers and employees alike to tweak job descriptions and responsibilities, leveraging their distributed workforce to work in tandem with machines in automated or augmented roles.
New jobs are emerging quickly, but competition for top talent to meet their requirements is on the rise. You can get ahead of the curve by proactively training your existing workforce in the skills they need to meet organizational needs.
Censia can help create Complete Talent Profiles for your existing employees, match them to Ideal Candidate Models built based on emerging job descriptions, and help you leverage your existing talent for a future-proof workforce. The jobs of the future may be a challenge for others to fill, but your employees will be already in place, armed with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve success.