Getting Ready for the Future of Work

Getting Ready for the Future of Work 2094 1396 Elias Luoma

In the coming years, technology like AI, robotics and automation will take over important tasks from humans. Talented humans have been playing a major role in innovation and they keep advancing their skills for economic growth. But many aspects, including technological developments, have contributed to change in the nature of work. Various other factors like demographic changes and economic disruptions have affected the availability of a skilled workforce. This can severely impact individuals, companies and economies all over the world.

Because of technological advancement, many workers will have to shift their occupations. But that doesn’t mean humans will be out of jobs. Robots, AI and automation will replace humans for some tasks but they will also create new jobs and make some jobs better. We have a lot of evidence that technology creates more jobs and improves businesses than it disrupts. Even the bigger companies and organizations have to change their strategy and adapt to changes quickly so that they are not left behind.

A report from the World Economic Forum suggests that algorithms, automation and machines will create around 133 million new jobs by 2022 but at the same time 75 million jobs will be displaced. This means totally 58 million jobs will be available in the coming years due to the growth of AI. Research from Capgemini found that 63 percent of organizations with AI implementation at any scale report that AI has not displaced any jobs in the organization. Around 80 percent of them say that AI has in fact created new roles in the organizations. They all believe that complex jobs would become easier with AI and automation.

So, to be right there with the technology, you should be well prepared and be ready to grab new roles and adapt to changes. The change is already happening, so the leaders of all the organizations have to act fast. The automation debate is important at any level, so everyone should have in-depth knowledge and understanding of changing technology. While the jobs, which become displaced due to automation, AI and robotics, can’t be saved, the organizations can take the responsibility to nurture their workforce and make them adaptable and skilled.

A human workforce, armed with skills and technology, will be important to drive performance in the digital space. As AI and automation take over complex tasks, the employees will have to apply their skills, not within fixed roles but in a different project-based setting. In the future, the job will not be defined by just output but it will be defined by skills and knowledge.

Artificial Intelligence and automation are already in action and are creating many new opportunities for organizations, individuals and societies and helping them solve real issues. The disruption of current livelihoods due to AI is not dependant on the technology itself, but on the policies that are already in place at government as well as corporate levels. To get ready for the future of work, everyone is responsible. The individuals will have to enhance their skills, the companies will have to re-skill their workforce and the governments will have to create policies for lifting the unskilled.

About Half of the Activities in Business Could be Automated

About Half of the Activities in Business Could be Automated 2208 1242 Elias Luoma

There is one thing that sizeable workforce is scared of and that is automation is going to take over the tasks from them in future. And, that can be true because research from McKinsey Global Institute says that about half of the activities that people do will be automated when the existing technologies are adapted. People will have to work with machines to produce the results that everyone aspires. Automation is indeed happening and it will definitely be beneficial to businesses and individuals around the world. However, this is not going to happen immediately. The report finds that people and technology should work together to realize technology’s full potential.

These findings are from the McKinsey research team after analyzing over 2000 work jobs across 800 occupations. AI and automation will not be limited to any particular occupation. The occupations that these technologies will affect range from gardeners to clerks, lab technicians, fashion designers, etc. These jobs will be automated depending on the amount and type of work involved. But the report said, in 60 percent of occupations, 30 percent activities might be automated.

The areas that are prone to automation and machines include repeated activities in a predictable environment. We can see these types of work in manufacturing, retail trade, accommodation, etc. People involved in decision-making, working directly with people, creative work, etc. are less prone to automation. The report noted that most of the occupations will change rather than completely getting automated.

However, the report noted that automation and AI are beneficial for businesses and economies. The automation of certain activities at companies can allow businesses to improve their performance. This can be possible by reducing man-made errors and increasing speed and quality of work. In some cases, the companies can also achieve those outcomes, which are beyond the capabilities of a human. Automation, AI and robotics would also help in giving a boost to production and overall economic growth at a time when there is a global slowdown. The research arm of McKinsey estimates that automation would raise productivity growth by 0.8 percent to 1.4 percent annually.

Automation is not going to happen overnight. McKinsey estimates that although there is potential, it will take a few years for automation to affect current activities. The speed of automation and its effects on workers will differ across different occupations, skill levels, activities and wages. The scenario suggests that half of the activities in businesses can be automated by 2055, maybe 20 years up or down, depending on many factors.

The debate on automation is all about unemployment but the workforce will need to work with machines to innovate and work for the growth of the economy. Even the policymakers will have to rethink and develops schemes that help the population cope up with the change in the future of work. Many companies have already incorporated AI and some are finding ways to embrace AI and automation to meet their business objectives. As the businesses continue to use AI and automation for most of the activities, the workforce will have to learn the necessary skills to be effective and efficient in their new roles.

Lifelong Learning a Vital Part of Work

Lifelong Learning a Vital Part of Work 2092 1396 Elias Luoma

The world around us is changing so quickly that if we don’t learn, grow and develop, we will be left behind. It is very important to continuously update the skills so that we have an upper hand when it is time for transition. The new digital technologies and the growing speed of changes in them influence the need to improve the skill set and competencies of everyone. Even lifelong learning is a vital part of work and this includes knowledge, behaviours, attitudes and skills that an individual acquires from their daily activities and experiences. Lifelong learning is to continuously build skills and knowledge throughout life. It improves personal development as well as the employ ability and competitiveness of an individual.

With changes in the nature of work because of technological advancement, lifelong learning is the need of the hour for the population. The new workforce should have diverse skills to innovate and succeed in this continually changing time. But this gives them a unique challenge. The individual should be able to apply problem-solving techniques, communicate well and use critical thinking skills to use new technologies and drive innovation. With the transformations like ever-changing nature of jobs and change in skills required to compete in future, it becomes important for everyone to be lifelong learners.

People should have skills to understand and interpret different information at various levels. When AI and automation take over, the nature of jobs will change automatically. So it is essential to keep learning and get equipped with new skills.When learning is permanent, it benefits everyone, including communities, companies and individuals. Lifelong learning makes people more innovative as while they learn they discover new ideas and abilities. As automation will increase in the companies, the demand for technological skills will also increase. Lifelong learners will keep learning new skills and also keep getting trained for new challenges. So, these people can better cope up with the changes in the workplace that will occur due to automation, AI and robotics.

You need to do everything you can to prepare for the future employment market.The focus should be on learning the basics and becoming adaptable to the changes in the nature of work. Although busy, you must take out time to learn new skills that will fit with the ever-changing economy and prepare yourselves for the future of work. Your future will depend on what you learn today. So, choose the expertise carefully and build your knowledge in the area that would be in demand.

Emerging technologies like AI, automation and robotics will change how every job is done in future. When companies adapt to these technologies, there will be a demand for a skilled workforce so that they can grow in the years to come. So, every individual has to keep learning throughout their lives. Everyone can enhance and develop capabilities and skills by learning continually. Learning not only sharpens the interpersonal skills but also increases career opportunities in future.

Training to Promote Career

Training to Promote Career 2111 1407 Elias Luoma

Lifelong learning will give you lifelong employability and this is more significant when digital technologies like AI, robotics and automation are advancing rapidly. Automation is not a thing of future anymore because many of the complex tasks can be automated using the present-day technologies itself. Few companies worldwide have already embraced AI at small levels and are prepared to make a transition. So, if the workers need to promote themselves to new roles and positions, they will need to invest their time in education and training to hone their skills.

Companies are offering formal training to their employees but that alone is not enough to prepare the population for a dynamic future with advanced technology. According to a survey by McKinsey, only 25 percent of the companies told that training programs improved the performance of their company. And, some companies said that they never check the returns on their investments done in training. However, according to them, highly skilled employees are more productive and they also need new skills to be ready to deal with the changes in the company’s requirements.

McKinsey Global Institute believes that there will be work for everyone based on most of the scenarios but the changes that will come with AI and automation will be significant. The occupations will definitely change along with educational as well as skill requirements. So, work will have to be redesigned to make sure that humans work with machines effectively and produce better results. The shift in workforce skills will accelerate due to automation and hence the demand for technological skills will grow. Along with programming skills, emotional, critical thinking and information processing skills will be in high demand. So, the population needs to train themselves according to the demand of work in future.

Many countries are already facing the challenge of training their workers for meeting the requirements of employers. If people want to move up the ladder and keep the jobs in future, they will have to get specialized training and enhance their skills. People can choose to train themselves in those sectors that will have high growth potential.

A survey by Pew Research Center found that around 87 percent of the workers believe that it is necessary for everyone to get training as well as develop new skills throughout their life if they want to keep pace with the changes in future. According to this survey, employment is higher among jobs, which require only education and job training, average communication and interpersonal skills and a higher level of critical thinking skills.

In the coming years, the workers will depend on complementary skill sets. Hence, it will be necessary to have college as well as vocational training. You don’t have to follow the same path of completing the school, getting into a good college and finishing it with specialized degrees to have competitive edge. Although those things may be necessary, practical hands-on experience will be equally important along with classroom courses. When you get training in high- growth sectors, you will not only stay ahead of other workers but also you will get new opportunities in the evolving future.

Automation and the Future of Work

Automation and the Future of Work 2117 1411 Elias Luoma

In the last few years, we have seen and read a lot of reports on the impact that automation, robotics and related technologies will have on our work and careers. We do not know how much AI and automation will affect our work but we are sure that it will be disruptive. As machines replace human beings and do the same type of work more efficiently, it’s time we adjust our plans and adopt new strategies.

Many studies have projected that robots will take most of the jobs from humans in future. That’s only one side of the coin. Another way of looking at it is the AI and robotics will create more jobs than it takes from humans. AI is already transforming businesses and it will contribute to growth through contributions to productivity. These digital technologies will change the way we work. Machines will take over some tasks done by humans and perform them efficiently. So, some jobs will decrease, some will grow and many others will change.

Forecasting this change in the future of work, humans need to learn more skills and enhance their abilities. In some cases, the workers may need to move to better and growing occupations or change their occupations itself. The latest research from McKinsey examines the challenge of automation and shows some critical issues that the individuals and companies will have to solve.

According to their research, the society requires these improvements for contributing to economic growth, providing value for business and making progress on tough challenges. There has been rapid technological progress because of improvements in mechanics, software and sensors. We can see many new generation automation systems these days, such as automated checkouts at stores and automated processes in factories. Automation and Artificial Intelligence have already transformed businesses and are generating value in services and products. Various companies use them to tailor product recommendations, check losses, identify wrong transactions, etc. Automation and AI have in fact created value across sectors and they have the potential to bring in more changes.

Even as these important technologies are beneficial to both business and society, we have to prepare for the changes in future. According to McKinsey’s analysis of over 2000 work activities across 800 occupations, some categories of work can be easily automated. Automation will affect almost all occupations but only around five percent of occupations can be fully automated. The researchers found that about 15 percent of workers worldwide or around 400 million workers can be replaced with automation in between 2016 and 2030. Multiple factors are impacting the speed and scope of automation and AI adoption. Factors include labor-market dynamics, social norms and acceptance and cost of deployment among others.

There will be work for everyone tomorrow as well as in future with AI and automation as it is today. However, the type of work will be different and those works would require new skills and greater adaptability. The best solution is to train both experienced workers and the new and upcoming generations for the challenges in future. Everyone needs to work together and embrace technologies safely.

Robotics and the Future of Work in Nordics

Robotics and the Future of Work in Nordics 2035 1453 Elias Luoma

The Nordic countries represent the group of countries in Northern Europe and include Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland and associated territories. These regions can be the leader in digital technology when Artificial Intelligence, automation and robotics take over the tasks from humans. Automation and AI are reshaping the way organizations and companies do business. But this is dependent on the Nordic governments. These technologies are already playing a big role in various sectors, including finance, healthcare and retail. Digitalization makes the service more transparent and efficient. Most profitable businesses in the world are already using Artificial Intelligence for distributing a range of products and services to the people.

McKinsey wrote a report on how AI and automation will affect the future of work in Nordics. They estimate that 40 percent of working hours in the Nordic region may be automated if existing technology alone is adopted. AI and automation will have a bigger impact on the Nordic workforce as they can provide predictions in detail that will not be possible for humans. We can see more and more organizations adopting AI, automation and robotics and shaping their business models around them in the future. They will have to enhance their systems, investments and capabilities and be ready for the future.

Artificial Intelligence represents a graph that makes winners and losers. For example, McKinsey study shows that companies, who adopt the technology earlier could double the cash flow compared to those who have not adopted the technologies by 2030. So, companies and organizations are not investing because of the advantages the technologies give but because they don’t want to miss out on the opportunities and advantages against their competition.

Research for a report from McKinsey suggests that when AI techniques are applied, it can unlock approximately $80 billion in value for Nordics and this is equivalent to two to three percentage point uplift of profit margin.

McKinsey’s research on the effect of AI and automation on Nordic businesses give us many insights. Businesses in the Nordics are positioned well to scale Artificial Intelligence and bring innovation in their domains. Nordic businesses have everything in place that will help them in scaling, including agile, motivated and flexible employees. Artificial Intelligence has the ability to unlock value potential and only those will excel who can adopt the technologies early. Companies, which adopt the technologies early, will have higher profit margin percentage points than the industry average.

However, for all this to happen, the Nordic governments have to start at the earliest or they will lose the advantage of a digital head start. The companies in the Nordics are in a dilemma, some of them are experimenting and only a few are scaling up. Due to this, they are not able to use AI to innovate and work efficiently. However, Nordics can still generate momentum as they have all the necessary aspects, such as technical knowledge, workforce, workplace cultures,
etc. Based on their goals, market and resources, the leaders in Nordics have to use the opportunity and work towards the betterment of society.