As technology continues to improve the way we work and live, it’s understandable to think that these “machines” will one day take over. However, unlike the Hollywood blockbuster movies would have you believe, machines aren’t taking over. In fact, automation is expected to double the number of open positions over the next decade.
According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), as reported by The Guardian, about 133 million global jobs could be created with the help of rapid technological advances in the workplace over the next decade, compared with 75 million jobs that could be displaced.
The WEF also claims that these new technologies may end up causing a disruption in the way we work, but ultimately—similar to previous periods of economic history such as the Industrial Revolution—these advances will benefit us in the long run.
The WEF recently conducted a survey of company executives representing 15 million workers in 20 different nations to see what risks were posed by automation. Klaus Schwab, chairman of the WEF, said in the report that “employment gains from technology were not a ‘foregone conclusion’ and would require greater investment in training and education to help workers adapt.” The report also found that there are urgent challenges for reskilling workers, and employers would be wise to ensure that there are safety nets in place to protect at-risk workers.
Schwab urged leaders to take advantage of this rapidly changing environment to create a new future of work or risk losing out to the competition that embraces new technological advancement. The Guardian reports that “Company bosses said more than half of all workplace tasks in existence at their firms today could be performed by machines by 2025. White collar workers – such as those in accounting, data entry and payroll services – would be among those most at risk from displacement.”
According to British respondents in the WEF report, 8 out of 10 businesses said it was likely they would automate work in the next 5 years, with half saying they would terminate employees who lacked the skills to use new technologies.
The bottom line is that ultimately, machines could replace human workers but only in specific tasks. In order to stay ahead of these technological advancements, and keep your human workers gainfully employed, companies would be wise to implement professional development programs to teach employees how to use these new technologies.