Here’s why AI & Workforce Automation Won’t Lead to Jobs Losses

According to The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “The Future of Jobs Report 2020,” the robots are indeed coming for jobs – but the end results aren’t as dire as past predictions have led our workforces to believe, and 10 million new jobs could become available over the next five years.

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Information Technology (IT) automation are making more and more tasks prime for automation, new roles are emerging as fast as old ones are becoming obsolete. By 2025, although 87 million jobs may be phased out as workforce automation takes over redundant and repetitive tasks, WEF predicts that 97 million new roles will emerge as humans and machines learn to work side by side.

What These New Jobs Look Like: The Future of Work

Many new roles will be geared to ensuring automation actually delivers on the benefits promised, including:

  •   Better accuracy thanks to reduced human error in the back office
  •   Higher productivity thanks to increased task completion speed on the floor
  •   Better efficiency thanks to streamlined work processes across multiple arenas
  •   Reduced costs thanks to mitigated risk in warehouses and other dangerous sites

Tech roles are expected to jump significantly as automation leads to the need for better automatons. Engineers, technicians, programmers, and monitors will all be required to keep the machines running smoothly, and an increasing number of office workers will have to be tech competent enough to work with workplace automation. 

IT and OT (operational technology) and the industrial internet of things (IIoT) increase demand for analysts who can apply data collected from automated and remotely monitored processes and apply them for even higher efficiency and profits.

However, not all new roles will be technology-based. Front-facing roles will expand as the focus of many companies turns to customer experience (CX) as the prime differentiator in a competitive landscape, and people skills will be more in demand than ever. According to McKinsey, social and emotional skills come in just under technology as a required skill, and demand for “people persons” will grow by 26% in the U.S. by 2030.

Reskilling the Workforce is a Top Priority

WEF research indicates that more than employers expect to offer upskilling and reskilling to at least 70% of their employees by 2025. The average goal is to complete enough employee training to redeploy 50% of employees displaced by technological automation internally within the same company.

The cost of offering learning and development opportunities to good employees to retain them is far less than trying to source a new employee, especially when job markets become competitive as companies scramble to fill these unique and emerging roles with qualified candidates.

The argument can be made that redefining roles in your company then training your own workforce from the ground up in anticipation of shifts in skills needs and role responsibilities is the best way to future proof your workforce.

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