However, new research is finding that not only is that not the case, but that the need for human workers actually increases due to robotic intervention.
Recruitment agency ManpowerGroup's latest report, creatively and accurately entitled Humans Wanted: Robots Need You, found that 87% of employers, more than ever before, plan to increase or maintain headcount because of automation. The findings are the same for the third year in a row.
"The focus on robots eliminating jobs is distracting us from the real issue," said Jonas Prising, ManpowerGroup Chairman & CEO. "More and more robots are being added to the workforce, but humans are too. Tech is here to stay and it's our responsibility as leaders to become Chief Learning Officers and work out how we integrate humans with machines. Learning today cannot be done as it was in the past."
"That's why at ManpowerGroup we're reskilling people from declining industries like textiles for jobs in high growth industries including cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, and autonomous driving. If we focus on practical steps to upskill people at speed and at scale, organizations and individuals really can befriend the machines," added Prising.
Indeed, the truth is that digitization leads to growth which leads to new and ever-evolving jobs. And if you don't believe us then look at just the need and gap of artificial intelligence experts.
According to a December 2017 report from Chinese tech giant Tencent, compiled by the Tencent Research Institute, there are just 300,000 “AI researchers and practitioners” in the world compared to the millions needed.
ManpowerGroup also found that global talent shortages were at a 12 year high pushed further by the constant need for new skills. The recruitment experts also specified that this trend is likely here to stay as 84% of employers plan to upskill their workforce by 2020.
IT skills in demand
In terms of specific skills, the report found that 16% of companies expect to increase headcount in IT, five times more than those expecting a decrease.
Meanwhile, front line and customer-facing roles will see a demand in human workers due to their special need for particularly human skills such as "communication, negotiation, leadership, and adaptability."
ManpowerGroup states that their report "provides practical recommendations and best practice examples from around the world to help organizations upskill their people and become more agile with the right combination of building, buying, borrowing and bridging talent."
The agency surveyed 19,000 employers in 44 countries for their research.