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Robots are creating jobs, not removing them

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Rarely a day goes by without news of digitisation, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality impacting the workplace and employment. It’s clear that a fourth Industrial Revolution is building and no one really knows what the outcome will be. According to research by McKinsey, 45% of tasks that people are paid to do each day could be automated with current technology. Added to this, 60% of all roles could potentially see at least one-third of their activities automated.

Some people may predict that it’s only a matter of time before we end up with a jobless future, with our current roles completely taken over by robots. However, whilst technological changes are happening at an unprecedented pace, it’s important to remember that it’s not the first time our world has experienced technological change. With the right mindset, there will be plenty of opportunities for workers in the digital age.

Learning from the past

When the first Industrial Revolution started in the 18th Century, a series of new inventions transformed the way people lived and worked. Prior to the revolution, most people worked from their homes and produced their own tools, food and clothing. However, the Industrial Revolution saw the introduction of mechanical equipment, machinery, factories, mass production, and more. Entirely new industries were created. While some jobs became obsolete, others were transformed and a considerable number of new roles emerged for the very first time.

Looking back at what history has taught us, more job opportunities will be created than lost as a result of technology. The world of work will become much more rewarding for humans, too. Fast forward to today and, once again, a whole host of new opportunities have emerged to meet with the demands of new technologies. From the internet to mobile phones, cloud computing, social media, and more – vast numbers of new industries, skills and careers have been developed, which were unheard of 30 years ago – creating jobs for IT security specialists, app developers, social media managers, social influencers, Uber drivers, and many, many more. The fourth Industrial Revolution is well on its way.

Looking to the future: a Skills Revolution

We’re in the midst of a Skills Revolution, where human ingenuity will be the linchpin of how we leverage technology in our lives and in our roles. With the right skills mix, people will augment – rather than compete – with technology.

Going forward, digitisation and the adoption of AI will lift the burden of repetitive tasks. This will enable humans to focus on more valuable, meaningful roles; roles that are more complex and emotive, which machines don’t currently have the ability to perform. In fact, this may even encourage more people to study STEM subjects and pursue their careers in those fields.

Unfortunately, it’s a given that certain parts of the workforce will be negatively impacted by the technological changes that are coming into place. And there’s no question that some jobs will be eliminated by technology in the years ahead, either. However, if we continue to learn and develop our skills, we can remain adaptable and employable in the future. We’ve adapted to the evolution of the labour market before and, on the whole, it will lead to more positive outcomes for workers.

Digitisation and the fourth Industrial Revolution may currently be associated with a negative impact on the workforce in the future. However, we ultimately believe more jobs will be created than destroyed. Most importantly, there will always be a need for humans in the workplace. After all, machines rely on humans to be built for all kinds of purposes, let alone maintained. This will continue creating more areas of expertise to keep up – so long as workers are ready.

To find out more, download our whitepaper Robots Need Not Apply: Human Solutions in the Skills Revolution.


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The post Robots are creating jobs, not removing them appeared first on ManpowerGroup.

Posted on: 11/04/18