Technology and the Future of Work

In our current digital age, an issue at the forefront of a lot of businesses minds’ is the changes that technological developments could bring to the workplace in the years to come. Among these is the growing fear that our jobs will be overtaken by robots in the not-so-distant future. The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has still to be fully realised, but it’s possibilities are far and wide.

The skills harboured by AI will be undeniably capable of substituting some work roles currently carried out by humans, thus creating a fear that many workers could be left unemployed. McKinsey’s 2017 Global Institute Report, however, argues otherwise. They found that very few occupations, in fact even less than 5%, involve activities that can be fully automated. What McKinsey’s researchers did note, however, is that while only a very little amount of roles could be fully automated, around 60% of occupations could see at least one third of their activities becoming automated.

So, what does this mean for workers in these roles? Firstly, the report stresses that although the emergence of automation is likely in many occupations, it is important to remember that employment isn’t probable to decline, but instead workers will find different roles to carry out. It can be considered safe to assume that AI will have less of an effect on roles that consist of personable skills, subjective expertise, and management abilities. The McKinsey report estimates that by 2030, we will see the automation of approximately 15% of current activities carried out by workers.

It is clear that the impact AI could have on employment varies massively across different occupations and sectors. So, the first question to ask yourself is what are the biggest shifts happening in your industry? With regards to recruitment, AI could have a significant impact. AI brings with it a more efficient way of sorting and planning information and data, for example with regard to CVs. While this could help recruiters with narrowing down potential candidates, it’s highly unlikely to threaten the full role of the recruiter. Recruitment as a profession places huge importance in personable skills, and building rapport with clients and candidates. Human interaction and the ability to judge and think independently are a huge part of recruitment, and this is incredibly unlikely to be replaced by AI. After all, who would like to sit in a job interview with a robot…?

The possibilities and debates surrounding the role of AI are still heavily disputed. However, it’s important to not let the ever-growing scaremongering regarding the takeover of jobs overwhelm us. AI should aide us in many ways, particularly in recruitment, and allow us to carry out our roles more efficiently. It is a development that we cannot deny will become a notable addition to our working lives in the not-so-distant future. It is therefore important that rather than fear the changes AI will bring, we instead acknowledge the way in which our working roles could be changed by its introduction and continue to work to the best of our abilities.

Businesses that will be faced with the influx of AI will therefore need to be smart in the way they approach it – it’s crucial to grasp the new data that’s coming and develop a strategy that ensures that they compete effectively for talent in the digital age.