There's been plenty of talk about digital disruption over the last few years and how the pace of change in technology is faster than ever meaning that many jobs will become automated in the next 5 years.
The latest research from the Grant Thornton International Business Report is interesting, with over half of the 2,500+ businesses surveyed across 36 countries indicating that they are currently automating business practices or planning to do so in the next 12 months.
However, I was surprised that across all industries how few thought this would have more than a 5% reduction on their workforces (ranging from 43% of manufacturing businesses to just 9% in the education industry).
Are business leaders burying their heads in the sand and underestimating the fundamental impact on the quantity and types of jobs that will be needed in the very near future? I think we're going to see more than 5% of current jobs being digitised more quickly than many think...
Are robots set to replace the workforce? That may be premature; technology has been introduced to the workplace since the industrial revolution and job roles have adapted accordingly. In fact, it’s likely the wrong question. We should be asking: ‘What human capabilities will be most enhanced?’ Clearly, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), supercomputers and sensors - previously the preserve of science fiction - will have profound consequences for jobs, pay and the make-up of workforces. We may continue to see people redeployed to lower-paid service roles as high-powered and previously high-paid jobs become the preserve of intelligent machines. Without intervention we will continue to see a growing divide in income and opportunity between knowledge-based and service-based economies and careers.