AI technology has been working behind the scenes to bring convenience and aid to many areas of our lives. Based on past choices, Netflix algorithms predict what movies we like. Expedia provides an expansive alternative to travel agents. Investment managers rely heavily on automated stock pickers. And Siri and Alexa provide the masses with a virtual personal assistant.
Some artificial intelligence technology is more out-front and less behind-the-scenes, potentially posing a risk to certain professions. Grocery checkout clerks are being replaced by self-serve stations. Restaurant waiters are being replaced by orders taken at onsite kiosks, online, or through phone apps. Machines can turn wrenches and tighten bolts more reliably than line workers. And self-driving vehicles are being tested on the road.
A McKinsey Global Institute report on automation and employment estimates that about half of all the activities people are paid to do in the world’s workforce could be automated by adapting current technologies. That amounts to almost $15 trillion in wages. Still, less than 5 percent of occupations are candidates for full automation replacement. Most jobs require humans and technology to work together.
A Pew Research Center report on the future of AI found that 48 percent of experts predict significant worker displacement due to technology. But 52 percent expect that technology will not displace more jobs than it creates by 2025, and that new jobs and industries will grow out of automation. They cite the following reasons to be hopeful:
- Technology advances may displace certain types of work, but historically advances are a net creator of jobs.
- We will adapt to these changes by inventing entirely new types of professions, and by taking advantage of uniquely human capabilities.
- Technology can free us from day-to-day drudgery, and allow us to define our relationship with “work” in a more positive and socially beneficial way.
- Ultimately, we as a society control our own destiny through the choices we make.
The businesses that stand to gain are those who understand that while AI makes some jobs obsolete, it also creates a whole new sector of occupations and opportunities. Staffing experts in various industries are readjusting and re-engineering workforces to meet the needs of the future.
Reinventing employment and staffing opportunities
Christine Hoffman-Hicks of Staff Smart told Staffing Success Magazine that she hopes staffing and recruiting could become more automated, linking employers and employees using a Match.com model.
“Think about Match.com: That is effectively where we are heading with recruiting. I would love to have that kind of algorithm, one that can go out and find people without you having to identify prospective candidates,” said Hoffman-Hicks. “You need this skill set, this geography, this price point? Boom, here are the people you need to talk to. It will minimize the time we spend on searching.”
It’s important to recognize that different skill sets may be required for emerging jobs, but it’s critical to define those skill sets and train employees to be proficient in them.
In demand skills for the present, and for the future
A presentation about working in the age of robotics from the World at Work 2017 Total Rewards Association Conference and Exhibition reported that the most in-demand cognitive skills are: design thinking, predictive analytics, and global mindset. The most in-demand collaboration skills are: inclusive leadership, digital leadership, and virtual collaboration. In practical terms, data presentation skills—organizing data so it is easy to understand—are expected to be in demand, according to the professional networking site, LinkedIn.
The marriage of soft skills—like judgment and perception—with hard skills—like data collection and analysis—will ultimately be the basis for addressing the gap so businesses can adapt in the age of automation and technology.
Crestmark supports staffing solutions in a complex new economy
Businesses may need unexpected cash when they are challenged by payroll, staffing adaptations, growth spurts, temporary economic downturns, technology advances and other issues in the automated workplace. Crestmark is able to support these challenges by providing flexible and nontraditional borrowing options.
Founded by entrepreneurs and serving entrepreneurs, Crestmark has been providing staffing industry financing solutions since its inception in 1996. Businesses faced with staffing and growth challenges can count on Crestmark to support their operations and sustainability.
Crestmark can help employers and employees succeed. Call us at 888.999.8050.