It is no news that the workplace has changed drastically in recent years. There has been a shift from physical office spaces to employees been able to work remotely. Most recently, emerging technologies (like robotics, artificial intelligence and automation) are gradually shaping and changing the skills that organizations are looking for in the employee thereby modifying the type of jobs that will be available in the future.
This digital transition in the way we work is a topic that often comes up in most conversations on whether automation and thinking machines will replace most human tasks, and which industries and job types will this change impact the most. In addition, globalization, demographics, climate change and geopolitical transformations are making significant impact on the work landscape. There is also a growing concern of the subsequent risks for the government, business and people.
Although there is a rising concern of emerging technologies overtaken human jobs, one can argue that some task has the potentials of being automated and replace by machines but, there will not be shortage of jobs in the future rather a shortage of skills to fill the available jobs that the era will create. Therefore, it can be said that it is no longer a matter of humans versus machines, it is not a competition but rather a collaboration as human and machines are working as a team to solve the world’s problems.
This fundamental transformation can be seen as an opportunity or a threat depending on how one takes advantage of disruption. Adoption of emerging technologies has a higher chance of increasing productivity, increased efficiencies, convenience and safety. Research shows that about 60 percent of all occupations have at least 30 percent of activities that are technically automatable by the currently demonstrated technology. These findings mean that most jobs will change, and more people will have to work with technology.
Highly skilled workers working with technology will be very beneficial in terms of productivity, cost efficiency and reduced time. Whereas low-skilled workers working with technology will be able to achieve more in terms of output and productivity, these workers may experience wage pressure, given the potentially larger supply of similarly low-skilled workers, unless demand for the occupation grows more than the expansion in labour supply.
The future of work poses a call for individuals, companies, government, policymakers and countries to embrace the emerging technologies and leverage on the benefits and impact it will have on the economy. There should be a leading effort of reskilling and retraining throughout the workforce to leverage on the growing capabilities of machines and help employees manage their way through the transition. And, most importantly, individuals need to understand the implication of the transition and leverage on the transition by learning and developing new skills so as to remain employable and relevant in the workforce.
Article put together by Esther S. Lolo, a Business Associate at iCentra Consulting
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