Automation in the Workplace & Its Impact on Specific Industries
April 22, 2019 Casey Godfrey
Myth has it that the robot takeover is always right around the corner. We’ve all heard the stories bemoaning automation before: that new technologies will render humans obsolete. But the truth is, automation is already among us, and it has been for a while now, with new technologies being adopted across a variety of job sectors every year. Where the reality departs from myth is that automation actually creates a net benefit, rather than a negative, for the overwhelming majority of the workforce. According to a recent study, automation and AI technologies will eliminate some job roles, but it will also create 3.5 million new job opportunities which will pay on average $13,000 more dollars a year. This transition in the workforce will enable employees and their organizations to become more efficient in their day-to-day operations, all while creating new positions in the process.
Software Development and IT Services
It should come as no surprise that technological advancements will have a major impact on the IT and software sector. In fact, LinkedIn reported a 190% increase in users adding automation technologies and AI Skills to their profiles, the majority of which were individuals with a tech background. Some emergent job roles and skills include software engineers, neural networks and deep learning. Machine learning, for instance, is changing the future of software development. And it’s not just the IT sector either. Machine learning is becoming a perquisite for positions in a variety of industries, including finance and retail, signaling a change in the overall workforce. This shift presents a massive opportunity for staffing agencies, opening the door for recruiters to tap highly skilled tech professionals for a wide range of organizations across industries to meet market demands.
Like IT, the manufacturing sector has seen a massive shakeup as a result of automation technologies. North American manufacturing companies bought and implemented 32 percent more robots in 2017 than in that same period in 2016. The report does indicate some job elimination, but it also concludes that this shakeup is necessary in order for manufacturers to remain competitive globally. In fact, the competition is so high that manufacturers have even begun partnering with recruiters to keep pace with evolving technologies. A 2018 survey found that 38% of respondents have hired staffing firms to help identify the skilled talent to meet the demands of the market and fill open positions.
There’s a misconception that HR consists of primarily administrative tasks, most of which are seemingly prone to automation. But according to 2018 study conducted by the World Economic Forum, Human Resource Specialist was found to be among the top 5 growing occupations around the world. This is growth isn’t in spite of automation, but contingent upon it. New technologies will play a pivotal role in shaping the Human Resources departments of the future, which will (among other things) drive smarter hiring, predict employee performance, and design motivating career paths, transitioning from primarily managerial position, to one of enabling and empowering employees.
The role of HR continues to expand, playing a larger part in framing an organization’s growth & talent acquisition strategy, especially in conjunction with marketing. And as the automation of tasks like on boarding and record management frees up more HR resources, we expect to see HR increasingly involved in employee branding and recruitment marketing.
Technology has rattled and reshaped the workforce throughout history, and the mass adoption of automation is no different. Certain positions will be eliminated, but that’s always been the case whenever new innovations are introduced. Automation is unique, though, in that it will allow human beings to engage in safer, more meaningful work across industries. So instead of focusing solely on the negatives and the supposed impending robot takeover, we should choose to look at the positives of these technologies, both as a recruiters and as members of an evolving society.