The job scenario: Present tense, future perfect

First things first. Corporate corridors are abuzz, albeit in hushed tones, with conversations around the prospect of job loss in the near future – blame it on robots and automation. In fact, a recent Pricewaterhouse Coopers report predicts that 38% of all U.S. jobs run the risk of being wiped out by automation by 2030. In India, the figure stands at 69%, according to a World Bank research.

True, job loss is a natural fallout of any inflection point in the economy. But most often fear trumps optimism. Most organisations tend to ignore that tech disruption also adds new jobs and creates more jobs than it erases.

However, we would be displaying naivety if we thought we would be left unscathed by the onslaught of these new, emerging technologies.

Inflection point

These technologies, which are the result of the fourth industrial revolution, represent an inflection point, which will prove to be the hardest ever.

The biggest inflection point ever witnessed by mankind was the time when motors replaced physical human effort. Not only did this multiply the economy manifold, but it also boosted the output like never before. Of course, jobs were lost, fear was high in people’s minds, triggering protests from all segments. Yet, we are where we are.

The world is currently at the second such inflection point – when human thinking power is poised to grow at an unprecedented pace – thanks to breakthroughs in technology like quantum computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

This transition will be tougher than all the previous ones as the world’s population has doubled, and this wave will disrupt the normal a lot more.

Allaying fears

The anxiety around job loss among businesses and talent alike is not entirely unfounded. However, organisations can take heart from these facts.

Even by a conservative estimate, the fourth industrial revolution will help create 250 million net new jobs by 2030. The third industrial revolution is testimony to the fact that new jobs are created despite the growth in population; that era saw a doubling of women in the workforce, in the west.

AI is expected to be a positive job motivator in the near future. According to a Gartner study, the technology will create around 2.3 million net-new jobs by 2020, and help generate $2.9 trillion in business value.

‘Different employment’

Business leaders would do well to remember that the challenge arising from the fourth industrial revolution goes beyond mere ‘unemployment’and extends into the realms of ‘different employment’. More than one third of the global workforce will find new work that is yet to be defined or even named.

The ascent of AI and machine learning will eventually result in the creation of new roles and redefining existing ones. The CIO’s role will be augmented by the appointment of Chief Artificial Intelligence Officers and Data Analysts. Other support functions like Administration, HR and Finance will also be transformed.

What’s more, at a time when traditional IT roles are facing extinction, new roles like Experience Technology Experts, Data Scientists, and Cloud Integration Specialists are emerging. Amidst this transforming scenario, companies that embrace and prastice rigorous Human Capital Strategy will be two times better prepared than those who lag behind in this area.

Organisations admit that employees need to equip themselves with a higher level of education for every new job. But just how many of them are willing to take personal accountability, only time will tell.

(Naveen Narayanan is Vice President -- Hiring at Sapient Razorfish

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 10:44:37 PM |

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