The future of workplace and technology

Over the last few decades, we have witnessed a monumental wave of changes at the workplace and paradigm shifts in technology. Automation at the workplace, driverless cars, and robots performing surgery has become a common phenomenon. Not only have the ways in which we work changed with the advent of automation but there have been changes in job roles. Conventional clerical or repetitive jobs have been replaced with smarter variants which require more of human intelligence and analytical power than physical strength. Repetitive jobs could soon be taken over by automation or robots, it is only a matter of time.


Think of any industry and you will find several instances of how automation has had a profound impact on the jobs scenario. A survey conducted in 2011 by McKinsey (McKinsey Global Institute) in Paris revealed that with the advancement of internet, 5,00,000 jobs became redundant. However, it has also created 1.2 million more jobs. Which means for every job it made redundant it provided 2.4 times more opportunities.  During the survey, 40 percent of the employers mentioned that lack of right skills is the main reason why there are vacancies in entry level jobs. 60 percent of the respondents agreed on the fact that recent graduates lack skills necessary for new-age jobs.

Though there is a wave of automation in almost all industries and people harbour a misconception that automation will take over all the jobs eventually, the report begs to differ. MGI survey was conducted on 46 countries which represents the 80 percent of the jobs globally. The survey examined near about 2,000 jobs and tried to understand the necessity and feasibility of automating jobs. It found that jobs which can be fully automated are less than 5 percent of the total jobs though middle skill jobs that can be fully automated comprises 15-20 percent. From this study, we see that there is a very small percentage of jobs that can be fully automated, however partial automation, right from entry level to top level jobs, will be impacted profoundly. This stresses on the fact that with more advancement in technology, people will be forced to work with technology.

One of the major beneficiaries of automation is the banking sector. According to the article ‘The future of talent in banking: workforce evolution in the digital era’ (April 2018) published by Bank Governance Leadership Network, close to 30 percent of all bank jobs are automated currently. It is very common for banks that deal with a large customer database to try and find out patterns of users, especially big clients, to avoid any future disaster and keep the client engaged and happy for a long time.

The article has also mentioned that by 2022, there will be a reduction in the banking workforce by 20-30 percent. There is a big change taking place in the nature of jobs in the banking sector. Previously it was a straight line or fixed job which means if you start working in a bank with a specific role then you will be most likely performing the same role till retirement. However, this scenario has now changed. Today, the management of most banks prefer employees having more than one job-role during their career span.

From a long term perspective, technology has reduced the average number of working hours for people. If we consider from 1900, the average duty hours has been reduced to near about 50 percent. People enjoying more leisure time and paid vacations and personal time. Also today we are witnessing the emergence of part time jobs, and flexible work hours. With individuals getting more time to spend outside their jobs, we are seeing the emergence a new industry that caters purely to entertainment. Airbnb, golf, games, self-driven cab services etc. were not so much in demand or rather non-existent a decade earlier. 

 Millennial and their view of the new-age jobs

Millennial have a completely different view of jobs and work environment as compared to their predecessors. Millennials love job profiles that are interesting and challenging. According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, The 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey, the millennial average maturity for a job is around 3.5 years which is lower than the previous generations. However, compared to 44 percent millennials in 2016 who said that they would leave the organisation within two years, the number has come down to 38 percent in 2017. Still this is something to worry about.

The millennial workforce have a mixed reaction towards the automation and new age jobs, according to the Deloitte survey. 40 percent of the millennial respondents think that automation will pose a threat to their job, 44 percent of the millennial respondents think that whatever skill they do have now will be less relevant in near future while 53 percent of the millennials feel that the workplace has lost its human touch and employees have become less cooperative.

The author is Dr. Rajasshrie Pillai – a doctorate in Management and a certified trainer of the Indian Society of Training & Development, New Delhi. She is also a certified psychometric test assessor and NLP trainer.

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