Advances in artificial intelligence, automation and digitization are disrupting how businesses carry out work today. This is causing a continuous change in skill requirement for companies and having a profound effect on the work-force. Available data suggests that as much as 50 percent of current work activities are technically automatable by adapting currently demonstrated technologies. Six out of ten current occupations have more than 30 percent of activities that are technically automatable. As companies embrace automation, hundreds of professionals need to be re-skilled and up-skilled. This would lead to significant changes in the workplace. Up-skilling workers is therefore emerging as one of the top priority areas for companies with an increasing number of them taking steps to address potential gaps related to automation and digitization within their workforces. One degree isn't enough anymore; continuous learning, relearning and up-skilling throughout one's career is fast becoming a necessity.
Average is dead; one has to continuously re-skill to remain relevant. Fierce competition combined with technological disruptions are causing new skill requirements to emerge at a rapid pace and leaving workers with no other choice but to skill themselves, multiple times over, to survive in their field. Inability to keep up means potentially falling behind the learning curve. Some technologies that would dominate in the coming years include artificial intelligence, big data, analytics and robotics. The benefits of these technologies in terms of productivity are compelling. The gap can only be bridged with the help of training and competency building. Available data suggests that total jobs are falling at 7.5 percent in the IT/BPO sector. As many as 35 percent of low skilled IT/BPO jobs have 50 percent likelihood of being automated in the next 4 years. 15 percent of medium skill jobs in the sector also have 50 percent likelihood of being automated in the next 5 years while only 5 percent of High skilled jobs have 40 percent likelihood of being automated in the next 5 years. This would result in low skilled jobs falling by 31 percent, medium skilled jobs increasing by 13 percent and high skilled jobs increasing by 57 percent. The bigger picture here is not what is going away but rather what is emerging.
India accounts for around 3.5 million out of the 15 million or so global IT workforce. From a corporate perspective, this would mean a looming necessity for the need to up-skill close to one million employees so that they remain relevant. Therefore, providing employees with job retraining and enabling employees to carry out their tasks with new skills throughout their career could be critical to the success of a business. It is important to keep in mind however, that automation will not lead to a drastic decline in employment but would rather lead to workers taking on new tasks. Automation will have minimal effect on jobs that relate to people management.
Karthik Kadampully is the founder and CEO of AEON Learning, a fast-growing Education Technology company delivering high quality online technology skills & education through its platforms avagmah.com and acadgild.com. He is also founder & trustee of a NGO tveshafoundation.org which is working on a mission to stop Child labour and educate the marginalised section of the society.