The ongoing automation of repeatable process-based jobs, along with the augmentation of the world of knowledge workers by machine learning and AI will give rise to a new class of super-jobs.
That’s a key finding in the newly released 2019 Global Human Capital Trends report from Deloitte which argues that virtually every job can be redesigned.
“After automation the work that remains for humans will be generally more interpretive and service-oriented, involving problem-solving, data interpretation, communications and listening, customer service and empathy, and teamwork and collaboration,” say the authors of the report.
But it also adds more complexity in maintaining capabilities in the business, Deloitte argues as “these higher-level skills are not fixed tasks like traditional jobs, so they are forcing organisations to create more flexible and evolving, less rigidly defined positions and roles.”
According to the report, “The use of artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive technologies, and robotics to automate and augment work is on the rise, prompting the redesign of jobs in a growing number of domains.”
The report suggests, “As machines take over repeatable tasks and the work people do becomes less routine, many jobs will rapidly evolve into what we call “super-jobs”—the newest job category that changes the landscape of how organisations think about work.”
There is a bullish view of technologies like Robotic Process Automation, the market for which is growing about 20 per cent a year, and which is dominated by companies such as Blue Prism, Automation Anywhere, and UIPath along with more traditional BPA vendors like Pega.
“Reflecting this growth, 41 per cent of respondents to our 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey say they are using automation extensively or across multiple functions. Among the various ways they are automating work, RPA is the most prevalent, but 26 per cent of respondents are using robotics, 22 per cent are using AI, and 22 per cent are using cognitive technologies as well.”
And the technology is expected to become more ubiquitous with 64 per cent of respondents saying they see growth ahead in areas such as robotics.
On top of that eight out of ten said they also expected growth in cognitive technologies, while 81 per cent predicted growth in AI.
“Now that organisations are using these technologies, it appears they are seeing the benefits and investing heavily in them,” the authors note.
Fear of the impact of this technology is also on the rise. “Only 6 per cent of respondents said that their organisations were ‘very ready,’ suggesting that organisations are now beginning to understand the scale and the massive implications for job design, reskilling, and work reinvention involved in integrating people and automation more extensively across the workforce.”
The authors come down on the side of the argument that says while some jobs are certainly being eliminated, many more will change.
They quote earlier research by Deloitte which found that “The value of automation and AI, lies not in the ability to replace human labor with machines, but in augmenting the workforce and enabling human work to be reframed in terms of problem-solving and the ability to create new knowledge.”