Preparing for Automation in Job Markets, Where to begin?

**This blog post is in response to an article by CNBC titled “How Robots Could Change the Job Market Forever“. 

It is probably no longer a shock to workforce professionals that job markets could change forever because of more workplace automation, but the recent introduction of human-like robots to automate certain tasks remind us about how close this reality of complete automation is and the profound change that it can have on the job markets.

As a quote from a UK Managing director implied, “65% of the jobs that the next generation of workers will have do not exist today” meaning to say a substantial number of jobs currently on the market could cease to exist within the next two or three decades. Furthermore, “research from Mckinsey and the OECD has shown that more people choose to work as freelancers, independent contractor or even work for multiple employers. 35% of the employers are already doing this.” With the number predicted to increase at a faster pace due to automation of job roles, how can employers, employees, business owners and HR management prepare to adapt to the changing trend?

For the business owners and employers, more automation to increase productivity and competitiveness would mean:

  • New business processes
  • New skills / jobs i.e. different job descriptions
  • The phasing of certain job roles
  • Demand for people with the required new skills
  • Company may outsource some of the functions to specialist companies or independent contractors.

To manage manpower changes as an outcome of automation, HR Managers, CHROs and Directors must be part of the top level management team in strategy formulation. This is so that the HR Management team formulates HR policies, plans and manages the inevitable change of automation to ensure the company remains competitive within its industry.  Automating some of the HR management processes such as operational tasks and talent management will be critical to manage these changes.

To adapt to the changing trend, it will be essential for the employee or an individual to take note of the following areas:

  1. It is about relevant skills. One should know the skills you have and what new skills you want or you should acquire in the near future.
  2. To determine the new skills required, an individual should remain curious and interested in the trend of their sector, overall economy and work with employers, may the government bodies to enhance or acquire new skills.
  3. It is mentioned in the CNBC news that one should know what you really want to do. With the awareness of the trend, one can then map their interest and the roadmap for upgrading of skills.
  4. Consider being an independent contractor or freelancer if one wants to have more freedom to manage their time and things that you want to do. With an increase in internet connectivity, more opportunities are open. However, it also means that the individual should have relevant skills in the areas of their specialization, and many other skills such as digital marketing, networking, negotiation skills, accounting knowledge etc. similar to running a small business.

 

In summary, these changing trends in the business landscape are inevitable and will not slowing down anytime soon. Businesses, managers and individuals must adopt new mindsets to stay competitive or just to survive. Three keywords to keep in mind in adapting to the changes, “ trend”, “skills” and “learning”.

 

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