According to a recent survey conducted by LinkedIn and Capgemini, nearly 30% of professionals believe that their skills will be redundant in the next one to two years if they aren’t already.
Another 38% stated that they believed their skills will be outdated within the next four to five years.
Let’s start by saying that automation will not take away jobs that will cause mass unemployment.
Instead, tasks within jobs are being transformed by automation and artificial intelligence. It is fueled by competitive environments in which businesses operate in.
The degree of job transformation will depend on how many discrete automatable tasks within a job that could be logically ‘broken-down’ and be cost-effectively supplemented or replaced by machines, artificial intelligence, or robotics in a socially acceptable manner.
The only caveat here is that if your job is 100% manual or that automation can take over all tasks that you are currently doing, then automation will eventually take over your job.
The impact of automation is real
Rather than worrying about the media or news hype, we can do something about it by future-proofing ourselves and taking proactive action to secure your jobs and incomes.
It should be noted that humans are resilient and have been adapting to changes for centuries.
To do so now will require a bit more planning. People do not plan to fail, but they fail to plan for their future. Without a doubt, complacency kills jobs and job security and income streams.
It will be worth your effort as you build a strong foundation upon which you can secure your job and income.
If you’re currently working in a job that involves significant physical and manual skills or basic cognitive abilities, then there is a higher likelihood that automation and artificial intelligence could automate a large portion of your job, transforming it into something completely different or even eliminating it completely.
Given that we are already growing our use of technology at home, it is a matter of time when we will be increasing our exposure to more technology usage in workplaces. It’s not a question of if, but when.
Without a doubt, technology will have a positive impact on organizations as it improves operational efficiencies, enables faster decision-making, enables better customer experiences, and improve employee experiences.
Automation changes the skills’ mix of jobs
When jobs are augmented or impacted by technology, the skills’ mix required to perform the jobs will definitely change, some more than others. The skills re-mix will differ from job to job.
According to McKinsey, if you are spending more of your work time managing or leading people, then your job may be least susceptible to automation.
In contrast, if you are spending a large portion of your work time doing predictable physical or manual work, then your job as a whole is highly susceptible to automation.
The shifts in skills’ mix are not new. Job transformation has already started, whether we like it or not.
We have seen such shifts from physical to cognitive tasks and more recently to digital skills over the last century.
The future of work is increasingly becoming a reality for millions of workers and companies around the world. The findings of the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2018 look at the trends expected in the 2018–2022 period covering 20 economies and 12 industry sectors.
Currently, an average of 71% of total task hours across the industries covered in the Future of Jobs Report is performed by humans, compared to 29% of total task hours performed by machines or algorithms.
By 2022 this average is expected to have shifted to 58% of total task hours performed by humans, and 42% of total task hours performed by machines or algorithms.
In terms of total working hours, no work task is yet performed predominantly by machines or algorithms.
And by 2025, only 48% of total task hours is predicted to be performed by humans. That is a decrease of 23% in seven years from now.
Workers have to re-skill quickly to secure their jobs
Workers will have no choice but to re-skill or upgrade themselves to perform new tasks that future jobs will demand. These changes will be externally driven largely by the competitive business environments that organizations are operating in.
As manual or labor-intensive jobs are transformed into something totally different or are “lost” due to automation, Gartner has said that by 2022, one in five workers engaged in mostly non-routine tasks will rely on artificial intelligence to do their job.
It is without a doubt that new job types will be created.
Take heart that new jobs like data scientists and mechanical engineers will be more in demand-driven mainly by the digitization and consumption of information.
Time will only tell whether there will be a net job gain or loss due to automation.
Adapting to the ever-changing business environment
Inevitably, organizations will follow the money trail. They will gravitate towards areas of business that will make them profits.
In doing so, they will ‘instantly’ require different or totally new sets of just-in-time business skills and competencies like customer-focus, value creation, data analytics, etc. just when the skills are needed to perform the work.
When this occurs, workers may be caught off-guard for not having the right skills demanded by employers.
As skills acquisition do take time, skills demanded by employers today may significantly differ when tomorrow comes especially due to the ever-changing business landscape.
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