Automation is set to impact jobs in a significant way over the coming years. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the effects of automation on jobs will differ among industries and the kinds of tasks involved.
Some industries like mining, which involve more physical labor, are likely to see a reduction in their workforce while the professional services industry can expect to see an expansion. Industries like biotechnology that involve several complex tasks might choose to rely on human talent than depend on machines.
The report points out that development in mobile internet is likely to affect the aviation, travel and tourism industry while the expansion of big data is expected to impact financial services as well as the energy utilities industries. The information and communication technologies industry will benefit from breakthroughs in cloud technology.
Looking at the rates of adoption, big data analytics is likely to see more adoption in aviation as well as information and communication technologies while machine learning could be adopted more in the automotive industry.
Technologies can be used to automate tasks or augment them and these decisions will depend on factors such as capital investments, the sensitivity of tasks and the risks associated with automating them as well as the end-performance of the machines with regards to those tasks.
When it comes to adoption of technologies, the skill gaps in labor markets are seen as a major hindrance. This brings to forth the need for reskilling, a major part of which could involve moving workers from roles that are losing importance into roles that are gaining importance by retraining them.
The demand for reskilling will also differ across industries. According to the report, the aviation, travel and tourism industry will have to reskill 68% of its workforce.
Looking at the time period from 2018 to 2022, in financial services, the share of work by machines is likely to increase from 36% to 61% and this will affect the jobs in data entry and accounting. In the energy sector, this share is likely to go from 38% to 56% and in consumer, it is expected to go from 30% to 50%. These changes in turn will affect factory workers and cashiers.
The level of automation that needs to be undertaken as well as the reskilling of workers are important decisions that require proper planning and investment on the part of companies.