The World Economic Forum’s 2016 report, The Future of Jobs, estimates that 5 million jobs will be lost to automation by 2020. A 2013 study by researchers at the University of Oxford found that of 702 unique job types in the United States, around 47% were at high risk of automation. In Australia the number goes to 44% of occupations – representing more than five million jobs – were at risk over the coming 10 to 15 years. In countries like India, one in four jobs may be cut by 2021.
IT, IT-enabled services and security services, followed by banking, will be the first sectors to feel the heat. These job cuts due to automation will not happen immediately, but the impact will become prominent by 2020. The change has started, with companies introducing bots for customer services. Jobs that once seemed the safest –office workers and administrative personnel, manufacturing, and even law—will be hit hardest, the report estimates.
But don’t worry, economists think it otherwise. The economy can be expected to create new jobs at a commensurate rate at which it extinguishes existing jobs. There are reasons to believe that job creation will outpace job destruction. Unfortunately, the people who lose jobs are often not the same as the people who get jobs. And transitions take time.
Basically, low skill jobs are at greatest risk. The routine, repetitive and rules-based tasks are susceptible to automation while tasks involving creativity, complexity, judgement and social interaction are beyond the scope of robots. This is what Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson call learning to race with the machine not against the machine in their book The Second Machine Age.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the key to surviving digital technology disruption is finding ways to combine your skills with the power of advanced robots and computers. That includes a demand for new skills and strategies that could help people to thrive in future work environments. Our highly experienced advisory team has successfully guided and trained many to achieve new skills and strategies to cope up with the new and changing scenario.
So we’re not entering into an era of job destruction but rather one of rapid transition. We need a more agile, flexible and nimble workforce able to cross professional and industry boundaries quickly and smoothly.
In a word, Automation won’t destroy jobs, but it will change them.
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