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AI and automation: Job creator, destroyer or enhancer

24 August 2021

Job creator, Job destroyer or Job enhancer: Three qualities used by many to describe the potential contribution of AI and automation to the global jobs landscape.

Will AI and automation render jobs obsolete? Will it create new and exciting ones? Or will it simply augment how workers operate?

In this blog, we explore each of these ideas, to better understand how AI and automation could impact jobs now and into the future.

Job destroyer

According to the World Economic Forum, the rise of machines and automation could eliminate 85 million jobs globally by 2025, making it a potential mass job killer. This upheaval is most likely to occur in lower skilled positions that involve basic administrative tasks, physical activities and large amounts of data processing, since these jobs are more easily replicated by technology.

In some industries, we have already seen this substitution take place. Manufacturers are using advanced robotics in their factories; mining companies are using autonomous vehicles to transport precious goods and big banks are using AI-chat bots to deal with simple customer enquiries.

If your occupation sits in one of these areas, you’re probably quite concerned about the rise of AI and automation. Our recommendation is to focus on reskilling and retraining yourself to improve your resilience to technology. Understand what aspects of your role can be replaced with technology, and what aspects rely on human capital. By doing this, you’ll mitigate some of the risks posed by the destructive potential of AI and automation on jobs.

Job creator

However, It’s not all doom and gloom for the jobs market. From the ashes of jobs destroyed will rise the flames of new jobs created. In the same report by the World Economic Forum, AI and automation could also create 97 million new jobs, equating to an overall addition of 12 million net jobs globally.

So, where will this job growth stem from? While demand for lower-skilled rolls will likely sink, demand for other higher-skilled roles will undoubtedly soar. Increased reliance on machinery tends to need more professionals to run them, and more technical specialists to harvest its proposed benefits. Such requirements will see particular roles like data specialists, engineers and technology specialists’ flourish in the future. Furthermore, development and adoption of new technologies will see new jobs emerge that don’t currently exist, creating new opportunities for those with the right technical and soft skills to harness them.

Due to this, the key learning here for candidates is the need to constantly upskill. Experience is hardly a barrier for jobs that don’t yet exist, and equipping yourself with the right skill combinations in the meantime for an AI and automation enabled future could be crucial to individual success.

Job enhancer

Go through history and industries have been advancing via technology since the beginning of time. However, the need for people has always endured. For many workers, companies and industries, AI and automation is simply another tool to enhance how people work. It wasn’t too long ago people feared that the internet would destroy jobs, yet it now fuels millions of roles worldwide.

While some roles are vulnerable as previously noted, the vast majority cannot yet be fully automated by currently demonstrated technologies. This means, from truck drivers to software engineers, most workers will continue to have a place to work alongside technologies rather than be replaced by them entirely in the foreseeable future.

What’s the key learning here? Simply put, adaptability. AI and automation is inevitable because of its unrealised value potential it has in the corporate world. However, those who are adaptable, and can leverage the power of technology to bolster their own capabilities, are likely to reap the benefits of the job enhancer potential of AI and automation.

Job destroyer, job creator or job enhancer? The reality is that AI and automation has the potential to be all of the above.  Its impact will be felt differently across occupations depending on how resilient or vulnerable your skillsets are to rapidly advancing technology. No matter where you sit on this spectrum, we recommend retraining, upskilling and being adaptable to technological change to help you manage the rise of the robot workforce and reap the benefits rather than endure the costs.

At Ignite, we’ve seen demand for technology talent specialising in automation and AI increase sharply in recent years. Our large network of clients are increasingly looking for the best talent with one eye focused on emerging technologies of the future. If you’re looking to make a move in this area, or simply need guidance on how to get there, contact our specialist recruitment team today and Ignite your potential.

Talk to our team to find our more!