No Robots Won't Take Our Jobs But We Need New Skills

A new survey from ManpowerGroup found technology will create jobs, just with new skill requirements.
Donna Fuscaldo
Robot and human getting alongAndreyPopov/iStock 

Technology may get a bum rap when it comes to the impact on future jobs, but a new survey from ManpowerGroup, the employment company, found technological advances will create jobs in new areas. 

According to the survey, which polled 18,000 employers located in 43 countries and covering six industries, it found that while technology brings more automation, boosting productivity along the way and lowering the headcount in some areas, it also creates jobs in new areas.  It's up to workers around the globe to pick up the skills needed for these new jobs. 


"We are seeing the emergence of a Skills Revolution where helping people upskill and adapt to a fast-changing world of work will be the defining challenge of our time. Those with the right skills will increasingly call the shots, create opportunities and choose how, where and when they work," wrote Jonas Prising, chairman and chief executive ManpowerGroup in the report highlighting the survey results.  "Those without will look to the future and not be able to see how their circumstances will improve. This polarization of the population that is playing out in front of our eyes is no good for society or for business. We need aggressive workforce development to address the widening gap between the Haves and the Have Nots."

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According to the report, up to 45% of the tasks that people do today can be automated by the technology already available.  Still, the surveyed employers said that the automation will result in a net gain for employment. Of those surveyed, 83% said they plan to maintain or increase their headcount for those with the so-called upskills during the next two years. Only 12% of those surveyed employers will decrease their headcounts because of automation. 

IT, HR, Customer Facing Roles Will Remain in Demand 

When it comes to the in-demand skills those working in information technology and customer-facing roles face a bright future. Employers of those types of workers expect to increase their headcounts. The need for data analysts is also expected to grow across all industries and geographies. Human resources employees won't face any reductions either. The headcount for HR professionals is expected to increase at least over the short-term. 

Among the skills employers will look for in the future, ManpowerGroup found it includes creativity, emotional intelligence, and cognitive flexibility skills. Those skills will be necessary to augment robots not be replaced by them.

Employers are also spending money to enable humans to augment robots. Nearly three-quarters of employers surveyed said they are spending money on internal training to keep employees up to date with cutting edge skills while 44% are looking for recruits with additional skills and more than a third are bringing on contractors or outside parties to give the current workforce the necessary skills. 

"We should not underestimate the value of human connection. Transformation of work in the machine age need not be a battle of human versus robot, "ManpowerGroup wrote in the report. 






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