The impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation on the workforce has received unprecedented levels of attention in recent years. There is much discussion in all industries about how the future of work will look, and how it will impact businesses and their employees.
AI and automation have steadily made their entrance into the world of business over the past 20 years, yet now it has become both a major point of global interest and a cause for legitimate concern. PwC research shows that AI could contribute up to $15.1 trillion to the global economy by 2030, a paradigm-shifting estimate that tops the combined contribution of China and India.
We’ve previously covered aspects of the impact these technologies will have on workers. Ultimately, how their organizations respond to these changes will impact the outcome for everyone. In this article, we will examine how the shifts in the interactions between humans and technology will likely affect organizations in the next 5-10 years, and what actions they can take to absorb this impact and leverage the potential of these technologies.
Changes in skill demand
Intelligent automation and artificial intelligence have been altering skill requirements for the past 20 years. The demand for tech skills has been steadily growing since the early 2000s, but it is expected to see a surge by 2030. In parallel, organizations are prioritizing well-adjusted social, communication, and emotional skills. Although recent AI breakthroughs, such as Open AI’s GPT-4, have reached unprecedented performance in emulating human behavior, technology is unlikely to master uniquely human attributes. A McKinsey report shows that by 2030, demand for “soft skills” like empathy, leadership, and advanced communication will grow by 26% in the US and 22% in the European Union. There will be a growing need for complex information processing, decision-making, and high cognitive skills.
Conversely, the need for basic cognitive and manual skills that have been required to perform routine tasks will decline. Intelligent automation platforms like Atomatik’s Business Enterprise platform are enabling workforces to remove repetitive tasks from their daily activities, creating room for new skill development and expanding the use of creativity and innovation.
Overall, the relationship between the workforce and new technologies will become stronger. According to McKinsey, the time spent using advanced tech skills will increase by 50% in the US and 41% in Europe by 2030.
Highly Impacted Industries
Intelligent automation and artificial technologies have left few industries unimpacted, with some, like banking and finance, at the forefront of adoption. AI has many potential use cases in this sector, and it is being widely used for various forecasts, including risks.
Intelligent automation on the other hand, which combines several technologies, including robotic process automation, RPA, and AI, has changed core finance activities like accounting. Repetitive tasks like accounts payable, receivable, or invoice processing can be successfully automated, minimizing, and often eliminating human error.
Healthcare is one of the only sectors where the need for physical and manual skills will increase by 2030, as the need for nurses and medical practitioners is constantly on the rise.
Yet many other areas are being dramatically improved through technology. The relationship between patients and healthcare professionals has been simplified through Intelligent Automation. Scheduling, settlement of payments, insurance verification, and data collection are just a few of the most common potential use cases.
In medical practice, artificial intelligence is already employed for pathology detection in X-rays and other medical imagery, and it is expected that more medical sectors will gradually leverage their capabilities by 2030.
Retail is one of the sectors that will accelerate adoption over the midterm. The potential for artificial intelligence is significant, from personalized design and production to anticipating customer demand through deep learning. Intelligent automation is already being used by many retailers for inventory and delivery management, with clear benefits for both retailers and consumers.
How will organizations respond?
For each sector, there will likely be an ideal time frame for adapting to the impacts of AI and automation and keeping a competitive advantage. Beyond that, delayed action will likely have consequences. These variables depend on the industry at hand, as some, such as agriculture, will likely experience moderate shifts and could therefore employ these technologies at a slower pace.
Regardless of pressure from competition and market changes, it is likely that by 2030 executives will need to make adaptations, as the composition of jobs and skills will inevitably change. Some roles will shrink, others will expand, and new ones will arise.
Evolution of mindsets
Eventually, no organization will be immune to the effects of automation and AI. Adapting the organizational mindset will be essential in creating and retaining a competitive workforce that will deliver high value. The paradigm about employee skillsets has been slowly changing in the past two decades. Workers no longer train to do a single role (with obvious exceptions), but rather are encouraged by both market and employers to be on a constant learning curve.
Technology is advancing at what many argue to be an overly accelerated rate. For people, this means that constant education, upskilling, and reskilling will be vital for job stability and prosperity. The workforce of the future will be made of people, digital workers, and artificial intelligence, working in sync to elevate human potential and performance.
New organizational setups
Traditional hierarchies will likely be challenged moving forward. Once they were the standard foundation for a stable organization, but in today’s agile business landscape, they are quickly becoming obsolete organizational models. Agility is and will remain emphasized in the coming years. Cross-functional collaboration in a network of teams with strong learning and decision-making capabilities will expand as a dominant organizational model.
Work will be dismantled to the core in many sectors, reassigning activities to employees, digital workers, and AI. This will increase efficiency, as workers will be able to utilize their skills and qualifications at a higher potential. This will also bolster satisfaction levels, as much of the mundane work will be handled by technology. It is also theorized that this shift will further expand the so-called “new-collar” category of workers, which will bridge the gap between manual labor and highly trained roles.
Transformation in C-suite and HR
Senior-level executives often struggle with a limited understanding of technology, which can hinder their ability to effectively drive their organization's digital transformation efforts. Proper education programs should not only include the main body of the workforce, but also its leadership. Otherwise, the risks of becoming uncompetitive and slow to adapt will put the company in a difficult position to remain profitable.
For Human resources departments, there is also a need to adapt to the new sizes and composition of the workforce. Although the HR sector is already benefiting from Intelligent Automation, flexibility will have to be enhanced in the coming years.
Organizations will also need to consider the ethical implications of AI and automation. They will need to establish guidelines and policies to ensure responsible and ethical use of these technologies, including considerations around data privacy, bias, and transparency. This will be important in maintaining trust with employees and customers alike.
The impact of AI and automation on the global workforce in the coming years will be significant. While some industries may experience moderate shifts, others will see drastic changes in job roles and skills requirements. Organizations that are proactive in adapting to these changes, fostering a culture of innovation, and prioritizing reskilling and upskilling will be better positioned for success. The key to thriving in this new landscape will be the ability to embrace change, prioritize human skills, and leverage the potential of AI and automation to enhance, rather than replace, the global workforce.
Atomatik was developed to help workers elevate performance and job satisfaction levels while delivering error-free results in a fraction of the time. Our platform is designed to assist organizations in adapting to the rapidly changing business environment, allowing them to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge.
If you want to learn more about how Atomatik can empower your organization and help you navigate the future of work, book a call with our sales team today. We are dedicated to helping businesses harness the power of AI and automation, ensuring that you are well-equipped to face the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by these transformative technologies. Together, we can create a brighter, more efficient, and more human-centric future for the global workforce.