The Impact of Automation on the Workforce
Automation has already begun to transform the workplace and it’s not all bad news. Although recent estimates state that 75 million jobs may be lost due to automation, they also note 133 million new jobs may emerge due to automation by 2022. In addition to increasing job numbers, automation will contribute other benefits to the workforce.
Four Benefits of Automation on the Workforce
- Automation will bring labour and production back to North America: Automation will reduce the incentives to use low-wage overseas labour. High-skilled workers will be actively sought out. These workers are highly educated - 40% of them have a 4-year college degree - and are able to work in niche markets such as software development and engineering.
- Jobs will be redefined with automation: Half of all Canadian jobs will be impacted by automation in the next 10 years. However, the jobs that remain will require “human skills”, such as coordination, critical thinking, active listening and complex problem solving.
- Worker safety will improve with automation: The manufacturing industry accounts for 25% of all private-sector injuries. However, with the use of automation, human workers can be designated to safer areas, which decreases risks as well as the high costs that come with injured employees.
- Automation will increase the quality and quantity of products: Automation allows for consistency since a program is designed to run the same way every time. The result is a product that is high quality. Also, since robots can run 24/7 without needing a break, the quantity of high-quality products will increase.
Who Will Feel the Impact of Automation on the Workforce the Most?
Of course there will be some areas harder hit than others with the rise of automation. These industries will feel the impact of automation on the workforce:
- Manufacturing: Currently, 56 percent of global companies use some sort of automation as it helps provide a competitive edge. Jobs within manufacturing plants that will need to be filled in order to manage the automation will be coding, machine operation, and computer programming.
- Transportation: With the introduction of self-driving cars, workers such as delivery drivers and public transportation drivers will soon feel an impact. Between 2035 and 2050, it is estimated the United States will save $1.3 trillion annually because of self-driving cars.
- Sales: Lead generation is a result of accurately profiling online behaviour, which makes sales a perfect candidate for the use of automation.
- Customer Service: It is estimated that by this year, 85 percent of customer service conversations may be powered by AI and completely free of human interaction. A high-quality chatbot will be more cost-effective than human workers.
How to Prepare for the Impact of Automation on the Workforce
Automation is happening, so being prepared for it is essential. Here are some ways you can prepare for the substantial shift:
- Flexibility: Now is the time to experiment with different types of approaches for training and development to find the best fit for your workforce. While it is difficult to plan for something new and unknown, having a solid trajectory, which includes training young Canadians, will ensure you are ahead of the game.
- Encourage digital fluency: Understanding technology is as important as knowing how to read. Ensuring that workers are prepared to fully incorporate digital literacy is a great step towards automation.
- Always be planning for the future: Understanding the needs of your workplace will help to drive decisions and change.
Make Sure Your Community Is Prepared for Workforce Change