Written by Laura Antolín
Is this the end of half of jobs as we know them today?
Computers, robots, artificial intelligence… Are we entering a new era that will change society and the labor market forever? Many of these transformations aren’t new, they have already influenced our consumer trends and daily life. It was just a matter of time that digitalization made the leap to the labor market, as it happened with the appearance of newly-created positions, such as Product Manager, App Developer or Community Manager. Today they are the order of the day, but ten years ago they did not even exist.
Digital transformation is now stronger than ever, and it will definitely have a big impact on companies, the economy and society in the future.
Understanding Digital Transformation
Just over 200 years ago, the Industrial Revolution caused big economic, social and technological changes. Now, experts say we are going through the “fourth Industrial Revolution”.
After the irruption of computer science and the Internet in households and working places in the Eighties, major advances were made in digitalization, becoming today's central strategy of start-ups and multinationals.
Many businesses have integrated new technologies into their business strategy to address their consumers’ needs more effectively. From the implementation of online banking to travel agencies or publishers replaced now by simple websites or apps.
On the other hand, we have also witnessed the foundation of digitally native companies such as Uber, whose mobile application connects passengers with drivers, PayPal, which offers simple online payment solutions, and the popular Airbnb.
The consequences of Digital Transformation for companies
Data shows that companies that opt for digitalization manage to increase their turnover and optimize their costs. It also implies the possibility to improve customer experience, increase visibility, impact and conversion, reduce costs in obsolete structures or even increase the level of employee satisfaction. This is why many businesses have already opted for Industry 4.0. In fact, the funding of Artificial Intelligence projects has multiplied by 8.5 times since 2012.
But every technological advance always has a flip side. With the digitalization and automation of companies, many employees will be replaced by robots, destroying thousands of jobs. Will this loss be offset by the appearance of new jobs? Which jobs are more likely to disappear, and which ones are less at risk?
Such is the debate and concern that in May the developer Mubashar Iqbal and the graphic designer Dimitar Raykov created a website that calculates the probability of your job being affected by automation. It’s as simple as writing your occupation and selecting the right one from a list of related jobs. The website, called: Will robots take my job?; yields contrasted data based on a study on automation, published in 2013 by the University of Oxford.
Although the study is focused on the US market, it is easy to extrapolate the results to any other part of the world. For example, jobs such as Cashier, Driver or Postman are at high risk of disappearing. As it happens, there are already autonomous cars that don’t need drivers, or drones that deliver your packages right to your door. Now imagine a supermarket without cashiers. It’s not fiction, it exists. Amazon created one, although it has not been opened to the public yet.
On the other end, we find professionals such as paediatricians, dentists, professors, publicists and writers, with no or very low risk of being replaced by robots.
Everything suggests that, against routine tasks and less demanding profiles, the human factor will continue to play a fundamental role. In the future, skills such as social intelligence understood as negotiation, persuasion and communication skills, and creativity will become more valuable.
The challenges of Digital Transformation
Technological advances are revolutionizing the labour market. There is no doubt that, in a few years, everything that can be automated will be automated, and those who are not prepared to assume Digital Transformation will see their career development opportunities reduced. Therefore, it is essential that companies and workers rely on technological innovation if they don’t want to be left behind.
Companies should identify their consumers’ needs as well as increase and improve their online presence in order to gain a competitive advantage over competitors. The biggest challenges they will face are related to the implementation of advances in terms of IoT, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity, among others. Organizations need to be able to offer a good consumer experience, using the tools provided by Digital Transformation. That way they will manage specific tasks in an automatic, personalized and real-time way.
For this reason, directors and business leaders can’t distance themselves from the digital process. It is necessary that they become actively involved in order to address all these challenges and channel their business strategy towards success. Moreover, it is important that they promote innovation among their employees, creating a dynamic environment of participation and training.
And the employees? Fearful that they may lose their jobs, reinvention seems evident. Reinvent yourself or die, some will say. There’s no need to be so drastic, but it is necessary for professionals to get training in digital skills and not be afraid to be creative. Precisely, creativity will be one of the most valued qualities by recruitment professionals and companies in the future, along with the ability to adapt, critical thinking and the already mentioned social intelligence. Companies will value multidisciplinary profiles with communication skills that are able to adapt quickly to changes and work both independently and as a team. The more added value we can provide as professionals, the more essential we will be for the labour market.
We could say that in world 4.0, the key for both companies and workers to be essential, is to be connected, informed and trained.
At Luxe Talent, we are aware of this. Therefore, we are totally committed to our Retail Academy training centre, from where we offer different courses related to Fashion, Luxury and Retail, taught by active experienced and recognized professionals. We believe that continuous training is essential for professionals so that they can update their knowledge and continue developing their professional careers in such a competitive environment.