Automation is not the end of your job

May 11, 2023by Editor

The age of automation is here, leaving many worried about job security. Yet many experts agree that automation does not signify the end of your job, especially for workers who are willing to adapt. Automation has the potential to bring many benefits and opportunities. 

Ten years ago, Oxford researchers predicted that almost 50% of jobs would be automated by now. Although this has turned out not to be the case, the technological revolution is now well underway, affecting all types of jobs from low-skilled to white-collar workers. 

Many aspects of work are being transformed by automation software, but it hasn’t led to widespread job displacement across the board. Automation should be considered a friend, not a foe. It can be used to support workers, especially those who are willing to adapt and learn new skills. 

The reality of automation

The reality is that automation is already a common feature of many industries, from manufacturing and logistics to healthcare and finance. While some jobs may certainly be replaced, new jobs are also being created through new technologies. 

It has been predicted that artificial intelligence (AI) will create more jobs than it destroys. In the long run, automation is expected to create 12 million more jobs than it replaces – ultimately a net positive for society. 

Jobs that are in growing demand are those that relate to technology, big data and machine learning. Administrative jobs, or those focusing on data entry, can be replaced by software. While Internet of Things (IoT) specialists are in growing demand, assembly and factory workers, mechanics and machinery repairers are the most likely to be replaced by automated systems and robots. 

AI can be used to automate repetitive and often dangerous tasks but it also creates new jobs, allowing businesses and workers to be more creative, strategic and take on an entrepreneurial mindset. New technologies can improve the quality of existing jobs by reducing the workload of tedious or repetitive tasks. This can free up workers to focus on more complex and creative work. 

Harnessing the power of automation

In the late 1980s, Economist Robert Solow identified what came to be known as the “productivity paradox”. He noticed that despite computers gaining mainstream popularity in the workplace, they did little to improve productivity. Instead, the use of technology seemed to slow things down. Excessive email correspondence is an example of how the digital revolution made in-house collaboration more time consuming. 

Until very recently, most of us had to go to our IT department to get help with automating workflows. With the advent of ChatGPT and other AI algorithms, just about anyone can now learn to use automation with a bit of training. Despite its impact on jobs, machine learning and AI software has the potential to help workers reskill and adapt to this Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

Human workers that use AI-powered tools are able to accelerate their performance in the workplace. Those who fail to incorporate new technologies into their workday are likely to become redundant. Because of this, companies that support their workforce through user adoption and change management training are able to gain a competitive advantage. A focus on digital dexterity and technological literacy is key to business success in the age of automation. 

Adapting to automation

Experts predicted that 50% of all employees will need to be reskilled in the next two to three years. However, the future of work is not just about automation. It’s also about learning new skills, especially those related to problem-solving, creative thinking, adaptability and leadership capabilities. 

Companies can support their employees in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) world, by fostering a culture of continuous learning. This might include providing customised job aids and e-learning materials, supporting learning in the flow of work and process education and embedment. 

Through strategic partnerships with change management specialists, businesses can develop the technological literacy of their workforce, allowing them to embrace digital tools and technologies that enhance productivity and efficiency. 

The impact of automation varies across industries and job types. Those who are willing to embrace automation and develop new skills are the most likely to succeed in the future of work. 

Can!do works with South African companies to get the most out of new technologies through change management and user adoption. For more information about our services, please contact us today.

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Can!do works with large enterprises in South Africa to maximise the value of their employees, technology and business processes. To do this, we offer three fundamental services; change management, capability development and performance optimisation

We have 30 years of experience in these fields and have worked with leading companies in South Africa. We are a certified Level 2 B-BBEE company and a leading provider of new business systems and processes that drive user adoption. For industry insights and news, please follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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