A FUTURE THAT WORKS: Automation, Employment, and Productivity.

Rowoli Philips

Published on August 18, 2022

5 min read

Automating HR may contradict what the profession is known for, which is about people. Automation will change the daily work activities of everyone, from miners and landscapers to commercial bankers, fashion designers, welders, and CEO's. However, what will their impact be on employment and productivity in the global economy?

Is it also ethical to replace human workers with automation?

Automation of work activities can enable businesses to improve performance by reducing errors, improving quality and speed, and achieving outcomes beyond human capabilities. Workplace automation will help perform repetitive or predictable tasks without direct human inputs. It can be applied to physical activities using machinery or robots or to data-driven processes using software and algorithms.

Because human beings are just as central as machines, so systematizing HR processes in off-the-shelf and custom solutions are not entirely attainable. Yes, these human resource automated systems are fast and super effective, but as long as it is treated as an assistant and not a replacement, any ethical problems are addressed. We cannot go about just automating everything. Otherwise, we will lose the human-focused dimension.

Automation is ethical. It is a tool, and as a tool, it cannot be morally ambiguous (just as a knife isn't morally ambiguous, even if it can be used for unethical means).

Should employees be afraid of automation?

No, Automation will displace many traditional and repetitive jobs over the next ten to 15 years, but many others will be created, and even more, will change and increase opportunities. Positions of the future will use different skills and may have higher educational requirements

Contrary to common belief, the future isn't likely to become wholly automated. Instead, it's more likely that we will enter a lot where people work alongside automation. They remove repetitive activities that were once part of specific jobs, freeing human workers' valuable time to focus on more critical, dynamic work. Studies have shown that automation can even prevent job loss.

How can automation prevent job loss?

1. Emphasize the value of problem-finding. New talent and seasoned employees alike need to focus on discovering and articulating problems.

2. Reskilling for life. The best way to find employment even when jobs are being automated is to stay employable by upskilling in relevant areas

3. Learning for all.

In advanced economies, the impact of automation over the next ten to 15 years will likely be higher. We assume that companies don’t adopt automation technologies until the cost of buying them and deploying them at least equates or lowers to the cost of labor.

Managers and executives will be needed everywhere, including a whole range of professionals. This includes IT- and computer-related professionals and engineers, scientists, account managers, etc. This is because today's automation technologies are much better at doing some things than others. Applying expertise is something that, at least in the time frame we are looking at, humans will still have a comparative advantage.

We also see some exciting categories of job growth that may be less obvious: creative occupations like artists, entertainers, painters, and writers. While there have been some gains in the emotional and creative aspects of artificial intelligence, humans still hold a clear advantage. Other jobs like a CEO, legislator, or psychiatrist also don’t look to be very automatable.

Automation is never taking over the job from the people but rather a shift. Historically, there was a time when secretaries, as we called them, did things like taking dictation, typing out something that somebody said, etc. Now they do much more complex tasks.

In the future, we expect to continue to see that repeatedly, without any intimidation to human relevance, because they will always remain central.

Thank you