Robots vs. people - what skills will be important in the automated world?

The first twenty years of the 21st century brought major changes in the product and labor market. The development of technology is accelerating, so you can expect that the next 10 to 15 years will bring us even more changes, caused by various factors. In today's article, we'll focus on analyzing the impact of automation and digitization on the labor market.

Reports from institutions such as PwC and McKinsey unanimously forecast the growing impact of automation on the labor market. PwC predicts three waves of change (the first - the beginning of the 1920s, the second - the end of the 1920s, the third - the mid-1930s). Initially, the changes will not be so noticeable to us, but as the technology spreads to various market sectors and the growing autonomy of equipment, up to 30% of jobs can be automated. It is worth noting that changes related to automation and robotics do not mean job replacement in all industries. Health care or education are areas in which, due to a large shortage of employees, technology means rather the support of doctors, nurses or teachers, relieving them of monotonous tasks, so that they can devote more time to patients / students. Moreover, the spread of technology causes a growing need to employ highly qualified employees that will allow them to operate and maintain automated equipment and robots.

Supply chain technologies

The proper organization of the supply chain and the use of modern tools to improve its operation are very important for the efficient functioning of the organization. It integrates many processes, which is why innovations implemented in this area affect the functioning of the entire enterprise. Investments in digital technologies regarding the supply chain are growing, which is connected with the need to employ talented employees who will enable companies to get the full value of their investments. MHI report states that in the supply chain, the two most desirable technologies are related to analytics predictive and inventory optimization and network. They are based on the ability to extract valuable information from data.

Subsequently, in the context of the supply chain, enterprises invest in robotization and process automation , including in solutions such as autonomous mobile robots (AMR), which include MOBOT robots ®. According to the MHI report , 42% of companies surveyed already use automated equipment or robotics, and 40% plan to buy a new one, or additional automation over the next five years. The technology adoption rate for automation and robotics increased more than any other in supply chain technologies between 2019 and 2020. (32% and 39% respectively).

Desired set of competencies for future employees

In connection with the popularization of automation and robotization , the demand for multidisciplinary employees with hard (technological) and soft (social and emotional) competences will increase. What does this mean for employees? First of all, it will affect the need to deepen existing skill sets or acquire new ones. Companies will also have to rethink how they work in their organizations.

To get the benefits of advanced technologies, you need people who understand how they work and are able to implement, develop and adapt them. In the new era ongoing 4. industrial revolution there is a significant need for each of us to develop at least basic digital skills . As  McKinsey report among the 25 qualifications they analyzed, basic digital skills are the second fastest growing category, growing by 69% in the United States and by 65% ​​in Europe. Advanced IT and programming skills are seen as the most important competences needed in the next three years.

Among the social and emotional categories, attention should be paid to empathy and advanced communication as those worth developing and improving. Employers will be looking for entrepreneurial people willing to take initiatives, characterized by leadership and management skills.

McKinsey Report indicates the growing demand for employees with advanced cognitive skills, such as creativity , critical thinking , decision making and processing complex information. By 2030, an increase of 19% is expected in the United States and 14% in Europe. At the same time, the amount of work that only requires basic cognitive skills, such as reading and counting, will decrease as automation progresses. Due to the fact that machines are increasingly taking over simple tasks related to data entry, one should expect a decrease in demand for employees with such qualifications in almost all sectors of the economy.

Depending on the degree of automation of professional activities, the set of required physical and manual skills required for individual occupations will also change. For example, vehicle service or storage and packaging of products is more susceptible to automation than helping patients in the hospital, or some types of cleaning.

Skills are a key challenge of our time

Summing up the information contained in the reports, the following competences may be indicated as those worth acquiring and improving:

An important conclusion from all reports is the inevitability of automation and the spread of digital technologies in various areas of our lives. It forces both people and companies to change the way they operate. This change is a challenge that you can prepare for by investing in training, gaining new competences and in innovative technologies such as  MOBOT mobile robots ® to better face it. It is also worth remembering that changes are happening here and now, which is why it is not worth delaying taking appropriate actions.


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