Robot Shaking Hands

New Year, New Jobs, and New Robotic Co-Workers

What are your New Year’s resolutions? Lose weight? Exercise more? What about finding a new job? The beginning of the year is the perfect time to take a look at your career and see if it’s heading in the right direction given the changing nature of work in the modern world.

The profound effect of technology and automation on the labor market is undeniable, but that should not be cause for alarm. A recent report from The World Bank highlights the fact that “Work is constantly reshaped by technological progress. Firms adopt new ways of production, markets expand, and societies evolve.”

Furthermore, the report found that “Fears that robots will take away jobs from people have dominated the discussion over the future of work, but...this appears to be unfounded.”

The World Economic Forum makes a similar assessment: “In purely quantitative terms, 75 million current job roles may be displaced by the shift in the division of labor between humans, machines and algorithms, while 133 million new job roles may emerge at the same time.”

 

Chart: Ration of human-machine working hours, 2018 vs. 2022 (projected)

 

The bottom line is that the “robot revolution” will actually create nearly 60 million new jobs for people worldwide by 2022.

So what types of jobs are we talking about? The roles that are expected to grow significantly include data analysts and scientists, software and applications developers, and e-commerce and social media specialists—positions that are based on and enhanced by the use of technology.

Other jobs include AI and machine learning specialists, big data specialists, information security analysts, and a profession near and dear to our hearts—robotics engineer.

 

Chart: The Jobs Landscape in 2022

 

Another emerging career is control systems engineer. Control systems engineers design, develop and implement new systems which control other engineering systems and machinery—such as robots working collaboratively with people in a warehouse.

And that’s one of the key takeaways from the World Economic Forum’s report: collaboration between people and machines will be crucial. Yes, automation is coming, but so are new jobs that play to the advantages of “human” skills like reasoning and decision-making, augmented by machines.

“For many companies, after an initial wave of labor-displacing, cost-cutting technologies, their future growth depends on creating new and differentiated products and services that tap into human skills,” the report states. “But for the concept of augmentation to go beyond a euphemism for simple automation, the human capital of companies can no longer be a liability but an asset. Together with other executives, chief human resources officers must be the new leaders at the frontlines of driving growth by creating a human-machine augmentation strategy for their organizations.”

Welcome to the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Are you ready?