By David Reichard
Regardless of whatever else is going on in the world – politics, pandemics or anything else – technology continues to grow and evolve at rates that are truly astonishing. For some, these advances are met with fascination and anticipation. Others perceive them with a sense of trepidation over what automation and technological advancements might mean for the future of the labor market.
The truth is this: Technology, innovation and automation are without question affecting the future of work. Fortunately, they are doing so in a positive way. Rather than eliminating jobs, they are creating new opportunities including more, better and higher-paying jobs. Here’s how high tech is impacting the workplace and the workforce of the future, and what you should know to be ready for it.
Some Job Displacement Will Occur, But It Will Be Offset by the Creation of New Jobs
There’s no denying that innovation and automation will create some job displacement. We’re seeing it already in retail stores, manufacturing plants and even fast-food restaurants, where ordering kiosks and burger-flipping robots are becoming commonplace. These types of advancements are largely replacing minimum wage earners in entry-level jobs.
At the same time, the jobs of programming, installing and improving these robots are being created – jobs that pay far better. In this respect, innovation and automation are creating new opportunities for lower-wage earners to move up the wage scale and and leave the burger-flipping to robots, instead of people.
Throughout the history of technological advancement, jobs that are lost as the result of innovation are almost always replaced with higher-skilled, higher-wage jobs on the other side of the equation. The new jobs being created today require people with specialized technology and trade skills, including:
- Coders who program AI, robotics and automated systems
- Technology installers
- Maintenance technicians
- Data security specialists
In short, people, with their uniquely human capabilities will always be essential to making technology work as it should.
As the Paradigm Continues Shifting, More People With Technical Knowledge Will Be Needed
It is true that the ability to work with technology is not universal. The jobs that are in the highest demand today aren’t just ones that anyone can do. They require specialized knowledge, skills and training, and this is as true for higher-wage earners, as it is their lower-wage counterparts.
In fact, a recent study by McKinsey and Company revealed that as many as 45 percent of all activities individuals are paid to perform can be automated using currently demonstrated technologies. This even included the activities performed by traditional white-collar roles like financial planners, physicians, senior executives, and even CEOs! Conversely, many lower-wage roles like home health aides, landscapers and maintenance workers required activities where only a very small percentage of activities could be automated with technologies available today.
Emphasis on STEM Education and Retraining Will Be Key
In either case, the keys to avoiding a large and permanent future displacement of workers will involve a combination of a continuing shift towards STEM education (curriculum focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), and retraining workers.
Retraining lower-skilled workers to work with technology would essentially raise the bar so that they would no longer be lower-skilled workers. For students considering their future careers and course of studies, as well white-collar executive seeking to future-proof their careers, STEM courses and increasing digital fluency will be the safest route to job security.
Bridging the Gap in Your Technology Workforce
At Alluvion, we understand that the future can sneak up on companies, quickly. We help companies plan their workforce needs with an eye on the future and specialize in recruiting and staffing for top technology talent. These are professionals who understand the leaps in innovation, technology and automation we’re currently experiencing as a society and are well-equipped to handle them. This includes:
- IT workers
- Software Developers
- Software Coders
- Manufacturing & Robotics Engineering Talent
- Automation and AI Experts