Shocking news this week that up to ten million British jobs could be taken over by computers and robots over the next twenty years, possibly wiping out 1 in 3 roles. hr24 has already covered a similar story about the rise of robots in the workplace affecting low-paid, low skilled jobs, but what is more worrying about this story is that the influence of robots is expected to affect people earning up to £30,000, according to research published by Deloitte and the University of Oxford.
It is anticipated that robotic or computer automation will threaten a whopping 35% of jobs across the country – affecting 10.8 million people! Positions most likely to go include jobs that involve repetitive processing, such as support services, administration and logistics. Those who work in computing and engineering can afford to breathe a sigh of relief, because they are expected to be the least affected, as are roles that demand creative skills and good relationship management.
Understandably the research calls for the creation of new jobs to compensate for the expected scale of redundancies. A number of commentators appear confident that business will find ways to generate new job – pointing to the Industrial Revolution as an example of previous success when faced with a similar situation – yet many remain unclear on specifics at a time when business is investing more in robotics than in employee training with the intention of developing new skills. We can see that employers are increasingly seeking an influx of new talent offering skills in digital and creativity as a way of meeting the upcoming challenges, and, as such, a premium is now placed on these workers. Yet this is only small proportion of the 10.8 million threatened by the rise of robots and computers, and plans for the remaining number remains unclear.
Obviously there is a need to understand the scale of the changes business and society are facing, followed by a positive reaction. Other news this week focused on the value of the entrepreneur for business development, and it seems credible to suggest that herein lies the answer to the problem, at least for now. The news reported on the need for business to stop viewing the entrepreneur as a suspicious agent in the organisation and begin to embrace them as a catalyst for advancement. It doesn’t matter that these entrepreneurs might only stick around for 2 or 3 years: this short termism doesn’t signal disloyalty. What matters is what they get done in the time they spend with the business: driving the business forward, reconfiguring outmoded processes and internal systems, and taking the business into new markets. In doing so will require new skills, which will lead to more job creation – job creation that might compensate for the loss of jobs to automation.
The message for business leaders is clear: place trust in your entrepreneurial workers and give them the tools to take your business forward.