Emerging technologies have a great impact on the future for work and employment, we better be ready

“The best time to prepare for war is during times of peace”

It’s no secret that new technology is currently taking the world by storm; and it is set to absolutely rock the workplace in the next few years. Experts have predicted that the job market will begin to pick up speed before 2020, with workplaces and workplace technology trends in the next decade being nearly unrecognisable from today’s. Unsurprisingly, many people are debating about whether there will be enough jobs for everybody.

It is a fact that the number of roles for office, administrative, manufacturing and production jobs will decline over the next four years. Some people predict that around 6 million roles will be lost. However, business and financial roles along with computing and mathematical roles are expected to rise in numbers.

Humans won’t necessarily be out of jobs – but they may find themselves doing very different professions. It is predicted that 65% of children under the age of 11 today will be working jobs that aren’t even created yet. That’s not necessarily a bad thing however, as computers are set to take over many of the mundane tasks that humans currently do at work.

Automations at the workplace

More and more jobs are beginning to be automated – for example, self-scan machines have significantly increased in popularity in supermarkets all over the country, and as soon as driverless cars are commonplace, taxi and lorry drivers could be out of jobs. It is estimated that robots could replace 40 – 75 million roles by 2025.

This all seems very scary, and there will definitely be groups of people who are losing out.

The jobs that are most likely to lose out due to AI are:
• Retail assistants
• Customer services
• Finance admin
• Elementary storage

Location wise, people from the north and midlands are most likely to lose their jobs to robots, whereas places like London, Oxford and Cambridge (typically home to positions which require more specific and higher skills) could possibly lose up to 15% of their jobs. It’s not just manual labourers that are set to have a change with their role – people with office jobs are at risk too. For examples, office tools like Grammarly are overriding the need for professional editors. Even lawyers might not be safe – nowadays, people can even use a robot lawyer for basic legal advice.

There are many arguments stating that robots and artificial intelligence will create jobs as well as taking them away, but it is undeniable that they will have a significant impact on some careers. However, people who are pro-AI state that robots will be taking over boring, automated jobs, leaving the human brain free to do the more important roles.

Jobs that could benefit from AI include:

  • Education
    • Science research and medical
    • Accommodation and food services
    • Communications
    • Arts industries

As these jobs are all creative-based or require a very comprehensive skillset, which robots and AI cannot duplicate (yet!). Instead, technology will be used to help in the workplace, rather than take over. Using robots will enable more time for the human brain to spend on creative projects and developing industries, opening the possibility for new staff.

Furthermore, the internet itself innately creates new jobs for people. Nearly anyone can purchase web space nowadays and make money through collaborating with brands, working with affiliate networks or hosting ads. Many people working in this industry are self-employed and often work completely alone in a range of places. For them, the workplace could be their home, a co-working space or even a coffee shop.

Job Commodification

Some creative jobs are commodified, and while they are not completely taken over by robots and technology, the commodification makes the process easy for unskilled people to do the same jobs. Companies like Wix and Canva are great examples of this.

Wix is a website development software that makes it easy for anyone to build a website. While there are some limits to its scope at the moment, meaning that many professionals still favour traditional web designers, it may expand and develop in the next few years. This is a crucial example of how technology will change the future of work and future workplace trends, as highly skilled people may find their roles redundant.

Canva is a graphic design software. User-accessible templates make it easy for anyone to design graphics, potentially putting professional graphic designers out of a job – or at least devaluing their work. Companies are unlikely to pay an external professional to create graphics for them when someone in-house can do it as part of their job.

Similarly, companies like Uber and Airbnb provide jobs – or at least extra income – for anyone with a car or a spare room. While these are great ways for earning money, they do affect traditional home renters or taxi drivers. There are also safety concerns about letting ‘just anyone’ drive your taxi or rent you a room. This has led to actions like the banning of Uber in London and threatening eviction to Berliners who rent on Airbnb.

Technology trends have made these services easily accessible – but are they ethical? This evolving technological situation could put more highly skilled people out of jobs.

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