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The revolution will not be televised….but it will be automated!


So apparently the robots are coming!

You know that rhetoric about immigrants coming in and stealing our jobs? Well in this case it might actually be true. But rather than humans being replaced by slightly cheaper humans from a different country, we’re talking about replacement by machines, robots and artificial intelligence.

According to McKinsey, “the coming workforce disruptions could match the scale of the epic historical shifts out of agriculture and manufacturing—and could possibly occur at a faster pace.”

It’s the automation revolution!

A Seismic Shift

According to recent reports by both PwC and McKinsey, estimates suggest up to 14% of the global working population – as many as 375 million people – may have to change occupation. As many as

30% of jobs across the UK economy alone could be lost to automation by 2030 with maybe 2-3% going in the next 4 years.

The Financial Services sector could be hit particularly hard – up to 6-8% – due to the prevalence of data and clerical roles more vulnerable to automation.

But is it all doom and gloom as these stats suggest?  McKinsey’s report also calculates that there is likely to be enough demand for labour to offset this shift – rather than mass-scale unemployment as many might fear.

We humans are a pretty adaptable lot. By all accounts there will be enough work to go around, but the question is how individuals and sectors navigate this transition. Perhaps this should reveal a huge opportunity rather than create fear?

From my viewpoint in the recruitment market, this represents another very clear example of why we need keep ourselves relevant, continue developing, carry on learning, always challenge ourselves and keep transferring our skills wherever possible.

Programmed to Inspire

Robots can and will replace humans in certain areas – and they always have done to one extent or another – but robots will never completely replace humans. As advanced as the technology might become, robots can’t build relationships, they can’t convince and influence someone over a coffee, they can’t identify an opportunity in the same way, or put a compelling proposition to a client.

A robot can’t think outside the box.

Our ability to adapt, innovate and use instinct, motivation and ambition to achieve things is entirely and exclusively human.

Boxing, tennis and football matches are not played out according to statistics – they fight the fights and play the games entirely because there is an unpredictability to human behaviour and achievement. We may sometimes fall below certain standards because of various factors – which of course a machine will not – but we will also often rise to previously unfathomable heights; driven by occasion, a change in preparation, a new skill learnt or another form of inspiration.

The Winter Olympics which start this week will be a perfect example of this.

In a similar way, we don’t hire many people for our clients who perfectly fit a job description. Recruitment – or business in general – is not a tick-box, word-matching exercise. Amongst much else, so much relies on instinct. Instinct shaped from experience. Instinct that a robot cannot replicate.

- by Tariq Siraj

Posted by: Beament Leslie Thomas