Looking at the Unexpected Benefits of Automation

For years, we’ve heard that robots will someday be taking over everthing, including our jobs.

But according to a new report for Manpower Group, the opposite looks to be true.

The new report titled Humans Wanted: Robots Need You finds that more employers than ever–87 percent–plan to increase or maintain headcount as a result of automation for the third consecutive year.  (For this report, ManpowerGroup surveyed 19,000 employers in 44 countries on the impact of automation on job growth in the next two years.)

Click here for the full report’s findings.

According to the report, companies that are digitizing are growing, and that growth is producing more and new kinds of jobs. Organizations that are already automating tasks and progressing their digital transformation are most confident of increasing headcount. Global talent shortages are at a and new skills are appearing as fast as others disappear. More companies are planning to build talent than ever before, and this trend shows no sign of slowing. Eighty-four percent of employers plan to upskill their workforce by 2020, the report finds.

The report also found that demand for IT skills is growing significantly and with speed, with 16 percent of companies expecting to increase headcount in IT, which is five times more than those expecting a decrease. Production and manufacturing employers anticipate the most change in headcount, as 25 percent say they will employ more people in the next year, while 20 percent say they will employ fewer workers.

“The focus on robots eliminating jobs is distracting us from the real issue,” says Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup’s chairman and CEO. “More and more robots are being added to the workforce, but humans are too. Tech is here to stay and it’s our responsibility as leaders to become chief learning officers and work out how we integrate humans with machines. Learning today cannot be done as it was in the past.

Prising notes that Manpower is taking its own medicine and currently re-skilling people from declining industries like textiles for jobs in high growth industries including cyber security, advanced manufacturing and autonomous driving.

“If we focus on practical steps to upskill people at speed and at scale,” he says, “organizations and individuals really can befriend the machines.”

Michael J. O'Brienhttp://
Michael J. O’Brien is former web editor with Human Resource Executive®.