Could a robot take over your job?

For the past two decades, many parts of the world have been experiencing a second Industrial Revolution as job roles change and evolve with the advent of technological advancements.

Technology has changed the way people work – whether it be related to connectivity, globalism or creating efficiency in communication.

In fact, and by way of example, this very article was penned in a small café in China – something that would have been unthinkable even ten years ago.

Naturally those in business and HR are interested in what the next decade of developments will hold, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) a key point of interest.

The topic has taken particular hold in HR circles this week with the release by the Australian HR Institute (AHRI) of a report into the future of work, which showed 78 per cent of HR professionals believed jobs will be redesigned to complement AI, rather than be taken over completely.

Similarly, the University of Melbourne’s Andrew Trounsen reported in the university’s magazine Pursuit that “the unique skills of humans will be even more valued than today.”

In his piece Dr Josh Healy, from the Centre for Workplace Leadership at the University of Melbourne, is quoted as stating there is not a risk of unemployment rising due to AI.

“Since the Industrial Revolution 200 years ago, technological advances have always led to job destruction, but more new jobs have always been created,” Dr Healy is quoted as saying.

“At this stage, there is no clear evidence this will be any different to what has gone before. We aren’t eliminating work, unemployment rates aren’t blowing out, work isn’t disappearing.”

HR specialist Heather Warner, of Perth HR consultancy WCA Solutions, supports this view, saying new technology begets new careers and employment opportunities.

“If you take one example of the smart phone and tablets,” she said. “The proliferation of this technology has created hundreds of thousands of careers in coding, app development, technical support et cetera.

“Google employs more than 50,000 people around the world, and Apple more than 120,000. Instead of focussing on generating fear over technological progress and AI, we should be looking at what skills future employees may need to be successful in this new era.

“This includes a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in schools and, of course, ongoing workplace training and skills development for adults.

“In addition, the importance of soft skills – communication, flexibility within the workplace, leadership – are only becoming more pronounced in this time of change.”

To find out more about WCA Solutions’ workplace training and coaching opportunities please contact the office on +61 8 9383 3293 or at admin@wcasolutions.com.