Automation is a driving force behind a changing workforce in which mundane tasks are no longer part of most job descriptions and workers are freed up to contribute strategically and creatively to the organisation.
This makes it imperative for businesses to understand and embrace automation, and to comprehend how the future workforce will evolve, according to Upstream.
By 2023, 45 per cent of workers are likely to be self-employed, giving them the control and autonomy they crave.
Upstream Solutions CEO Scott Crosby says, “For many younger workers, the traditional view of a steady job at one company, perhaps for life, simply doesn't reflect reality. The gig economy has truly taken hold as a response to workers' desire for increased flexibility and agility.
“While this may sound like a nightmare for Baby Boomers and Generation X workers who were raised to value longevity and stability, it creates myriad opportunities for people willing to embrace a variety of experiences. These workers see change as a chance to grow, rather than a risk to be avoided.”
As the future of work unfolds, roles and tasks that are easily automated will disappear from job descriptions, while difficult-to-automate jobs will show the most growth.
According to McKinsey, less than five per cent of occupations consist of activities that can be fully automated. However, in 60 per cent of occupations, at least a third of the tasks could be automated.
Crosby continues, “This has led to some concerns among employees that people will be replaced by robots.
“And, while some jobs will certainly be replaced with automated technologies in the future, the truth for most is that automation will simply make their jobs more enjoyable by eliminating the repetitive, low-value tasks involved and freeing employees up to add more creative and strategic input to the businesses they work for.
“This could dramatically improve employee engagement and give workers a renewed sense of purpose.”
It seems workers have already intuited this. In recognition of the diversity of opportunities available to gig workers, freelancers are increasingly focusing on re-skilling and upskilling.
Employees or freelancers that can work effectively with automated or semi-automated workflows will be best-placed for success in the future workforce.
Crosby concludes, “As automation becomes more integral to operations, businesses need to ensure they're prepared. Failing to automate processes where possible could lead to inefficiencies that make it hard for businesses to compete effectively.
“Organisations that embrace automation early and upskill their employees will be in the box seat to propel their business further in the next five years.”