When you add the word “future” to the word “work” in a sentence, people typically visualize robots. Your mind may drift to a utopian existence. Life is filled with endless time to do what you want to do and the robot does everything else - you’ve outsourced yourself! Or it might conjure a nightmarish vision, where robots take over and humanity is enslaved! Well, we outline a more realistic vision for the future of work in this blog. Take a look…

Automation and simplification goes way back

Most people think that the concept of robots and automation are a 21st century innovation. But humans have created ways to simplify hard labor or distribute tasks to someone (or something) else since the beginning of time. Whether it’s pencil vs stone, assembly lines vs manual processes, paper vs Word documents, or robot vs human, it’s an iteration of automation and how we apply technology to our lives. When it comes to robots, set aside your Hollywood-tinted vision of human-like automatons for a moment. 

We are specialists in the future of work, preparing our next generation of Talent for the working world. Let's put the spotlight on the different kinds of robots and work-based automation that will create an impact on our work lives.

Future of work statistics

There are lots of eye-popping statistics about the future of work to get you thinking. We’ve outlined a couple below:

It is estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today will work in job types that don’t yet exist. (Source: World Economic Forum)

Robots are not just going to change the jobs we have today, but jobs will emerge in years to come that don’t exist today. Think back before the age of the Internet and the jobs that were to come for the developers of today.

To continue the theme of computing, consider the following forecast...

The need for advanced IT and programming skills will continue to grow. There will be approximately 1.4 million open computing jobs by 2020. But only 400,000 computer-science graduates available with the skills to fill them. (Source: The Hill)

It is clear that organizations, job seekers and students need to focus on the resourcing needs of the future working world.

For more future of work statistics, check out this article from Adobe: 15 Mind-Blowing Stats About The Future Of Work.

How does the future of work really look?

At pepelwerk, we’re passionate about keeping people working. Our definitions below attempt to simplify complex themes to help you figure out how to deal with technological advances. Remember, like all tools, automation and tech solutions can be used for good or evil. Application is at the discretion of the user.

Types of automation and robotics

AI and the future of work (advanced robotics with artificial intelligence)

AI and the future of work combine hardware and software. The hardware is the robot or mechanisms that create the machine, i.e. your phone, smart speakers, a walking machine, your car, etc. The software system is a program telling machines what to do. The type of software and methods of using data points determine whether the machine is transactional or functional.

Here are some of the different types of work-based systems utilizing AI:

  • A transactional/fixed system does the same task, the same way, over and over. (Think industrial robots) 
  • A functional/programmable system collects multiple data points and modifies their actions to complete tasks. (Advanced robotics)
  • A flexible system takes a series of experiences and data points, modifying the next set of actions to improve how they complete a task. (Artificial intelligence) 

For more examples of AI and the future of work, check out this guide to the world of robotics or watch this intriguing video interview with a robot.

The role of software automation in the future of work

Businesses are utilizing programming software to take a series of actions and program the possible variations of outcomes and logic. They're doing this to help users get what they need and get them sooner. Examples of software automation being used in this way are chatbots or automated email workflows and triggers.

RPA (Robotic process automation)

RPA, or robotic process automation, is where you take standard operating procedures and automate them using software automation logic and/or a combination of bots and/or robots. Bots are digital versions of robots - think of Pac-Man! Bear with us. Pac-Man was programmed to eat up little dots on the screen and when all the dots were gone, if he didn’t get attacked by ghosts, his job was done.

Learn more about RPA and how it is used in business here: Robotic process automation explained.

Future of work technology: Why so much focus on automation?

Future of work technology, such as automation, is concerned with resource preservation. Saving time, money, energy, and the environment. We're adding these tools to our work lives, companies and how we communicate and exist because automation reduces costs and improves margin. It frees up time and provides us with the energy to think and work more strategically.

Future of work technology

How will advanced robotics with artificial intelligence impact your work?

Humans need to think broader to work with these kinds of technology. The future of work will see our job roles evolve. They will become more focused on monitoring, troubleshooting and enhancing new staff and resources. How, why and what we do in a day-to-day job will continue to change. If you are afraid of being replaced by technology, then you and your company must do a better good job of change management. This is about adaptation and preparation, not elimination.

Check out Wiki’s History of Robots record for an interesting look at the growth of robotics. 

AI and the future of work: What jobs will artificial intelligence impact?

All jobs and industries will eventually be impacted by AI, in all chains of command and hierarchy. The future of work will see organizations expanding in certain job types and some will shrink and/or become obsolete. That is the reality. Job scoping and business strategy are critical first steps in the evolution of companies and how they prepare for the future of work. 

There are significant consequences to doing this half-assed or without true intent. We outline some of the companies leading the way in combining advanced technologies. They're playing a big role in how businesses adopt and transition to new ways of working:

The list goes on, but the point is that the partners they use to create, manage and distribute their revenue will heavily influence their ability to adapt their operations and offering as business changes.

How do I prepare for automation impacting my work?

It’s not a matter of should I incorporate automation into my world anymore, it’s a matter of how and when to do it. It’s time to embrace the future of work. Using these companies doesn’t mean you’re applying good change management and application within your organization. You need to pick the right experience consulting partner for HR Transformation, Resource Planning and Organizational Change Management. It depends on the issues that you are facing and the size of your company as to who are the best partners for you.

What are my options when I have to reduce the number of people in my company because of the impact of automation?

You have a few options:

  1.  Offer your workforce a plan to level-up with a pepelwerk membership and help them transition into a new era of work and job placement
  2. Think twice and use complete a workforce optimization exercise and profiling of abilities to see who can be built up for other jobs in your company
  3. Or do nothing. Everyone can fend for themselves...

Future of work events and advice on preparing for change

pepelwerk provides resource planning and talent optimization for all industries. We focus on the pre-hire experience, while providing advice on HR transformation and HR technology. The pepelwerk platform is a component of a bigger strategic initiative and we can work within consulting firms or as part of a technology stack to help you prepare for the future of work. 

Find the right employees for the future of work 

Your needs will differ, depending on the size of your business. Why not get in touch? We can give you advice on the best partners for your business. Here are some of the consulting firms leading the charge in digital transformation that we can and have worked with: 

We hold regular events in the US that bring together companies, job seekers and Educators to match the Talent of tomorrow with the work that most suits them and the Employers that require their skills. If you’re interested, you can learn more about these events on our Job Match Events page.

Summary: Preparing for the future of work

AI, automation and advanced robotics will only continue to influence the working world. pepelwerk prepares companies and the talent of tomorrow for the future of work. Follow the pepelwerk blog and our social channels to stay informed and be part of the conversation.

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pepelwerk is the matchmaker of the working worldLearn more about pepelwerk and how our skills-based job matching platform is changing the game. Whether you're a company hiring, a job seeker or someone with the skills to teach others, we can make the right match! The future of work is here and we can help you get prepared.