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Is digitalisation taking away jobs?

The fourth industrial revolution is round the corner. Companies are rapidly advancing and innovating. Digital transformations have become the order of the day. Yet the debate surges on – will this technology evolution lead to an increase in jobs or will it take away jobs?

As per a WEF report, nearly 50% of companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce by 2022. However, proponents of technological advancements argue that while technology will replace unskilled jobs, it will herald a new era of innovative jobs.

“Jobs Lost, Jobs Gained: workforce transition in a time of automation”; a research report by Mckinsey Global Institute provides, states that: By 2030, 75 million to 375 million workers (3 to 14 percent of the global workforce) will need to switch occupational categories. All the workers will need to adapt, as their occupations evolve alongside increasingly capable machines. Industries will start to see the need for skilled workers increasing,

So what does this require?

It requires a more proactive effort to unite man and machines. It requires companies to re-focus their manpower towards performing tasks which require human judgement, complex thinking, creativity, innovation, interpretation and critical or logical reasoning.

Re-skilling Is Key

“The change will be dramatic, but unlike others who are making predictions on the future of the workforce, it will not be catastrophic. Jobs in industries such as IT, business process outsourcing (BPO) and financial services are not about to disappear, they are simply about to change,” explained Harel Tayeb, CEO of Kryon Systems, a New Jersey-based firm that provides automation services. NASSCOM recently identified eight technologies which will have an impact on job creation and the new roles that could arise out of each:

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The picture above steers the conversation towards how technology advancement is starting to lay emphasis on employee reskilling, i.e.,moving away from rote and routine tasks to focussing on bigger and more challenging tasks.

NASSCOM found that 40% of the country’s four million IT workforce will need reskilling in the coming years to keep up with the accelerating pace of technological developments in areas such as automation, analytics and machine learning.

In a recent World Economic Forum (WEF) report titled ‘The Future of Jobs 2018’, WEF predicts, 54 per cent of workers across 12 industries would need to be reskilled by 2022. While 35 per cent Indian workers need at least six months of reskilling, one in 10 would need over a year of training to meet the demands of the brave new economy.

This just means that jobs are here to stay. However, while employees need to unlearn- learn and re-learn, enterprises need to rework on their talent pool and do a skill gap analysis amongst employees in order to train and reskill their people to keep work in progress.

Watch this space for more on this topic!

-Riti Sinha, Editor, PB7

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