Technological Innovation, namely artificial intelligence (AI), automation and cloud-based software, will change the daily lives of everyone. From construction workers and miners to commercial bankers, fashion designers and CEOs, the use of automated technologies in the workplace is on the rise and looks increasingly likely to shape the future of our workplaces.
Indeed, the phrase 'future of work' often poses questions over fears AI and automation may replace the need for large numbers of roles and working professionals in some areas. For example, recent discussions have explored the future of the role of the personal assistant with the emergence of the AI assistant (e.g. Siri, Cortana, Google Assistant, Bixby, Databot and Alexa) and center around the notion of being ‘replaced’ or out of work.
However, the potential shifts in the labor force that AI and automated technologies present is not without precedent. Many experts believe that the next wave of automation will play out as previous waves did. For example, the Industrial Revolution. While the Industrial Revolution did make several job roles obsolete, they were replaced several times over - thus, creating more new jobs than were destroyed.
The same can be said for previous waves of digital transformation:
- the Internet destroyed 500,000 jobs in France in the previous 15 years—but at the same time had created 1.2 million others,
- a net addition of 700,000,
- or 2.4 jobs created for every job destroyed.
(A study by McKinsey’s Paris office )
In the US, One-third of new jobs created in the past 25 years were roles that did not exist, in areas including IT development, hardware manufacturing, app creation, and IT systems.
So, What Will The Future Job Market Look Like?
No one can say for sure. Of course, we’re not pitching the idea of flying cars or space travel; we’re talking about using technology to more efficiently replace the mundane activities that workers across the globe regularly perform and how this will impact the workplace as we know it. According to Mckinsey & Company, “The development of automation enabled by technologies including robotics and artificial intelligence promises higher productivity (and with productivity, economic growth), increased efficiencies, safety, and convenience.
We spoke to CSG’s Construction expert Chris Cashman, Head of MENA - Facilities Management and Construction. He revealed that across the US and Europe, AI has increased efficiency and had a positive effect on the workforce. “AI has enabled more women to work on the site floor as automation, and AI reduces the amount of manual labor/heavy lifting.”
However, the technical feasibility of automating does not necessarily translate into the deployment of automation in the workplace and the automation of jobs. Chris detailed that Dubai (in particular) has “more of a focus on commercial success and rapid outputs than technological innovation”. Indeed, the supply-and-demand dynamics of labor are an important factor, meaning that if workers with sufficient skills for the given occupation are in abundant supply and significantly less expensive than automation, this could slow the rate of adoption.
Without a doubt, the cost of developing and deploying both the hardware and the software for automation can present a hurdle that some corporations are not ready to dedicate resources to yet. However, those organizations that do dedicate resources, and specifically identify the technical skills they will need in future, with a clear focus on building their workforce around those skills NOW, are likely to be the organizations that come out on top and stay ahead of competition
What is interesting is the recruitment trends taking force. The UAE has a 2030 vision - a neon, red sea development, which is already creating job specifications for roles that haven't been created yet. For example, in sustainable construction. The UAE has set targets to be 100% carbon neutral aiming to “set a new standard in sustainable development; protecting, preserving and enhancing the local environment”. Certainly, with the emergence of new materials such as low carbon concrete, workers will need the relevant skills and knowledge to be able to adapt and work towards these targets. Chris noted that “in order to achieve this 2030 vision, construction corporations are looking to European talent to facilitate this transition”.
What Does This Mean For Business Leaders?
It means that the labor market will become even more candidate-driven. Subsequently, those who possess the skills to work alongside and help streamline business processes will be in great demand.
At CSG Talent, our team of experts have already seen this trend taking force. Companies are crying out for talent with a breadth of digital skills to drive innovation forward. Businesses are less focused on industry specific experience but instead place emphasis on attracting talent with a range of technological skills and experience that is transferable across industry sectors.
We spoke to Precision Medicine and Diagnostics consultant Lexie Stratford, who explained the significant impact AI in data analytics and data reading has had on the role of the clinician. She gave a recent example in Oncology and revealed how AI data processing saves a considerable amount of time - the machine can read large sequences of the genome quicker than any human could, thus, spotting anomalies quicker for researchers and patients alike. As a result, “their role is becoming more obsolete, and there is an increased focus on data analytics alongside an increase of people in support services as there’s less need for people on the backside.” Without a doubt, the role of the clinician has changed. Because of rapid technological innovation, there is an increased need for data reading and data analysis from the information produced from the AI.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean job scarcity. On the contrary, analysis shows that humans will still be needed in the workforce. According to Mckinsey and Company, “the total productivity gains we estimate will only come about if people work alongside machines”. That, in turn, will fundamentally alter the workplace, requiring a new degree of cooperation between workers and technology.
As a result, business leaders must embrace this shift and identify the talent required. Working extra hard to attract the new skills they require. This is where employer brand plays a vital role.
Candidates are no longer influenced by softer benefits. Recognising and understanding talent motivations is paramount to the successful placement of candidates. This has been most prevalent in our work within the tech space. For example, the opportunity to work with the latest software such as AI, or cloud-based software. Certainly, businesses who do not migrate over to such technologies may find themselves swiftly out of ammunition in the war for talent.
What Does This Mean For The Working Professionals?
Well, it means that many working professionals will have to change, alongside business processes. And it's already happening. For example, technological platforms such as Upwork, Uber, and Etsy provide independent workers with an option to offer their services in a contractor-style way, challenging conventional ideas about how and where work is undertaken.
CSG Talent's Principal Consultant, Taahir Patel works within the Life Sciences team where he specializes in Diagnostics. He said “It is a lot easier to get hold of people and information now, everything is so much more accessible with advanced technology and communication platforms. On a recruiter's side, you need to keep things personal and engaging, and this can often require more effort to build rapport with candidates. Sometimes, generic job adverts just aren't enough because there's so many.” He added, "In some respects, technology is making it easier to find and source candidates, but it is making it harder for businesses to stand out. That’s where we come in. CSG Talent are experts in talent attraction. We provide deeper insights into our client's future, the culture and the role itself, demonstrating our knowledge and expertise with candidates and acting as an ambassador of our clients brand. “
At the same time, candidates must also be wary about their continued development making sure they are able to work with and alongside emerging technologies. This is especially evident as we turn to greener solutions in the race to become carbon neutral. As large corporations such as Meta and Netflix are tasked with building data centers across Europe which meet sustainability targets, candidates from traditional industries like oil and gas, or engineers from related industries such as, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, production, aviation & ex-forces need to be equipped to make the transition into this emerging industry.
Technological Innovation - The Future
Whilst the level of adoption technological innovation will receive within the labor market remains uncertain, we can be sure of one thing - digitization is changing the dynamics of many industries. The developments will bring with it the introduction of new roles with much more of a digital focus.
New markets are accelerating and profit pools are shifting. For some businesses, this is a wake-up call to use their digital transformation to reinvent processes with a fresh focus on the candidates they want to attract.
Whether you’re looking to recruit key roles for your company, or would like to have a conversation about emerging technologies in your niche area, we can help. Contact a member of our expert team, recruiting the leaders of the future - bringing fresh, innovative ideas to create a more efficient and greener future.