Cutting costs and making a profit while increasing efficiency and growing exponentially is a top priority for every business today. This is one of the main reasons why automation is taking over jobs and will continue to do so. Automation is free from drama and human biases and this is where the world is heading. In this article, I’m sharing 5 reasons why a jobless future is unavoidable. Number #5 is the most important reason in my opinion, so read till the end for that one.
It is no longer business as usual. The world is fast changing due to advancement in technology and other forces like the Covid-19 pandemic. In this age and time, no body can confidently say, Oh, don’t worry. Nothing will happen to jobs! That will just be naïve. Because businesses across the globe are doing more with fewer employees. It is either you Disrupt Yourself Or You Will Be Disrupted. It’s either you empower yourself and drive disruption or you will get outpaced by it.
You have to design your own agenda to transform yourself to win in these turbulent times of disruptive change and economic anxiety. You cannot afford to fiddle at the margins; you can’t sit back and wait for government or someone else to hand you your future.
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Without much further ado, lets get into the 5 reasons why I believe a jobless future is unavoidable.
Automation is defined as the technology by which a process or procedure is performed with minimal human assistance. This refers to the use of electronics, computer-controlled devices, and sometimes robots to take over the control of processes. Automation is a broad term that covers many areas of technology where human input is minimized. There is scarcely an aspect of modern life that has been unaffected by automation. This include everything from business-specific types of automation such as: business process automation (BPA), IT automation, marketing automation and industrial automation. It also covers personal applications such as home automation. Yes, of course, every industrial revolution has always had a huge disruption of jobs but the Fourth Industrial Revolution is more disruptive and different from previous revolutions in that jobs that were once considered save are no longer safe.
There is no longer such a thing as “job security.” Winning or losing is now happening faster than ever before.
It used to be that only those in factories, blue colar jobs were worried about machines taking over their jobs but now white colar jobs are on the line. Accountants, lawyers, HR managers, auditors and much more professional jobs are being replaced by software.
2. Digital Transformation.
Digital transformation is simply the use of new technologies to solve business problems. it is about transforming processes from manual, brick and morta to digital. The world is going digital! Shopping is going digital, banking is going digital, marketing is going digital, insurance is going digital, and much more. we have already seen significant job losses in the financial industry, procurement, IT and HR as a result of digital transformation and things will only get worse.
The Covid19 Pandemic is driving digitization at a rate never seen before and will undoubtedly lead to even more job losses. Digitalisation simply means fewer employees — fewer cashiers, less book keeping, less trucking and fewer distribution centres.
According to World Bank, Covid-19 pandemic has plunged Global Economies into what’s referred to as the Worst Recession since World War II. Both Emerging markets and developing economies are all bleeding. Covid-19 isn’t only a global health crisis but also a major labour marketand economic crisis that is having a huge impact on people and jobs across the globe. The pandemic will undoubtedly leave long-lasting scars. The pandemic is having a catastrophic effect on jobs, working hours, earnings and is literally triggering a meltdown on the global job market that’ll take years to recover.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that almost 1.6 billion people in the informal sector will lose their jobs worldwide. According to ILO, this pandemic is expected to wipe out 6.7% of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020 — that’s equivalent to 195 million full-time workers.
This far exceeds the effects of the 2008–2009 financial crisis. This is indeed a world beating recession that’s bringing even the toughest economies and the global job market to their knees. So, because of this, we cannot comfortably sit back and say, jobs will always be available!
4. Intelligent Machines.
This refers to artificial intelligence and robotics. From a business point of view, not an emotional point of view or a logical point of view — Big corporations are going to employ fewer people to get a lot more done with more precision and better quality. One of the biggest advantages of robots is their ability to work non-stop without getting sick or tired. That’s something practically impossible in any line of work with humans. When machines are deployed, an organization don’t have to worry about these machines getting sick or catching coronavirus. Robots don’t get sick and that makes it a no brainer for many businesses.
Martin Ford in his book, Rise of the Robots makes this comparision. He said,“In 2012, Google, for example, generated a profit of nearly $14 billion while employing fewer than 38,000 people.9 Contrast that with the automotive industry. At peak employment in 1979, General Motors alone had nearly 840,000 workers but earned only about $11 billion — 20 percent less than what Google raked in. And, yes, that’s after adjusting for inflation.”
There is no doubt that robotics and artificial intelligence are changing the face of employment as we know it and revolutionizing every industry. Artificial Intelligence(AI) is cheaper and more productive than humans. It doesn’t sleep, need breaks, get sick or take vacations, and it doesn’t need health insurance or retirement benefits. It can work around the clock, can instantly scale to levels that a human worker can’t simply achieve.
Machines do not require leave, lunch breaks, smoke breaks, toilet breaks or any breaks for that matter. Robotics do not come late to work. Robots are drama free, they don’t organize protest action and they don’t complain about workload either and this is why many organization will won’t think twice about adopting new technologies and replacing humans with intelligent machines.
In Japan, a new machine is able to select ripe strawberries based on subtle color variations and then pick a strawberry every eight seconds — working continuously and doing most of the work at night. And this is just one example out of thousands.
5. Exponential Organizations.
Let’s first define what is an exponential organization? An exponential organization is one that focuses on leveraging information and new technologies to achieve rapid growth and expansion rather than increasing human capital or physical assets. The idea is from a book titled The ‘Exponential Organizations’ co-authored by Salim Ismail.
Exponential organizations are different from traditional ones because they grow at an above average rate with fewer resources — up to ten times faster. For these companies to act quickly in a fast changing world, they leverage on outsourcing as many task as possible rather than maintaining a large full-time workforce. Because of how fast exponential organizations grow, even traditional businesses are now striving to become more exponential. even startups are looking at how best to grow fast with the least resources…or should I say with the least humans.
To further expand on the impact of exponential organization on jobs, I’ll borrow this comparison done by the Founder and chairman of World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab.
He compares Detroit in 1990 with Silicon Valley in 2014. He said, in 1990 the three biggest companies in Detroit had a market capitalisation of $36 billion dollars, revenues of $250 billion dollars and 1.2 million employees. But In 2014, the three biggest companies in Silicon Valley had a considerably higher market capitalisation amounting to $1.09 trillion, generated roughly the same revenues ($247 billion dollars) but with only about 137,000 employees, that’s about 10 times fewer employees”
Hence my point that a jobless future is unavoidable. I understand this might sound scary to some people but all hope isn’t lost. Revolutions bring disruptions; disruptions bring opportunities. There are many opportunities that the new era does present. However, many of these opportunities are outside a job. Opportunities like the Freelance Economy, the Gig Economy, the Passion Economy, the Hubby Economy and entrepreneurship.
Yes, of course businesses of the future cannot operate fully without people. Humans will always be needed at work, The point however is that they won’t be enough jobs to go around for everyone even for those who have upskilled themselves. Yes, even people with the right relevant skills won’t have jobs readily available for the same reasons as outlined in this article.
You may argue there will be new jobs and that’s a valid point. However, the big question is whether people will be able to reinvent themselves for these new jobs of the future. Will a cashier be able to transition into data science or digital marketing to work for the same retail organization that’s going digital? Will someone who has worked in mining all his life be able to learn coding? I believe these are important questions.
I’ll conclude by saying do not seek to compete with the machines but focus on being human. focus on being creative and think solutions, think innovation, think outside the box, think outside a job and think entrepreneurship. Think on how you can use technology and the digital economy to improve your life. Think of new ways to foster your own disruption and position yourself for new opportunities in a world that’s ferociously changing.
The people who get ahead in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can’t find them, they create them.
Don’t fight change, don’t fight technology — you will lose every time if you do. Instead, embrace change, embrace the new normal, embrace technology and become part of the revolution.Follow me, Lets Get Social: