Computer automation has revolutionized the world of work, impacting occupations, technology jobs, and skills. While it has eliminated certain routine tasks, it has also created new opportunities. Automation has led to the transformation of traditional jobs, requiring workers to adapt and acquire new skills. Technology jobs have seen a surge in demand, with professionals needed to develop, maintain, and manage automated systems. Skills such as programming, data analysis, and problem-solving have become crucial in this digital era. As automation continues to advance, it is essential for individuals to upskill and embrace technology to remain relevant in the evolving job market.
How computer automation affects occupations technology jobs and skills?
Implementing automation offers numerous advantages, including enhanced productivity and improved quality and safety. However, it also presents challenges and potential negative effects on the economy and job market. Automation can result in job displacement, income inequality, and a reliance on technology.
How does automation improve employee satisfaction?
Automation offers several benefits, including increased job autonomy and flexibility for employees. By automating repetitive tasks such as expense management, employees are freed from monotonous and time-consuming work. This allows them to dedicate more time to meaningful tasks, which in turn enhances their satisfaction and motivation. Moreover, automation provides employees with greater control over their work, fostering a sense of ownership and pride.
A study conducted by Richard Hackman and Greg Oldham, titled “Motivation through the Design of Work: Test of a Theory,” emphasizes the positive impact of job autonomy on motivation and initiative (p. 257-258). Employees who have autonomy feel that their contributions are meaningful to the business and its customers. This sense of responsibility for the success or failure of their work further fuels their motivation.
Does automation cause job losses?
Should I fear automation?
No, there is no need to fear automation. While concerns about job loss are valid, the general public tends to have a more negative perception of automation than necessary. Although it may seem alarming that 73 million jobs will be lost to automation, it is important to consider that at least 58 million new jobs will also be created.
The job market is constantly evolving, and it has undergone rapid changes in the past 20 years. This trend will continue in the future.
How can I protect my job from automation?
To safeguard your job from automation, there are several crucial steps you can take. Education plays a significant role in reducing the risk of job loss due to automation. Individuals with a Bachelor’s Degree or higher are 21% less likely to experience job loss. Additionally, careers in healthcare, education, and the arts are less susceptible to automation.
Has automation and technology created or destroyed more jobs?
Automation and technology have likely created more jobs than they have destroyed, although it is challenging to quantify. Looking ahead, the World Economic Forum predicts that technology will create 97 million new jobs by 2025, while 85 million jobs will be lost to automation. This projection suggests a net gain of 12 million jobs globally due to technological advancements.
What percentage of jobs are at risk of automation?
Approximately 25% of jobs are considered to be at high risk of automation. An additional 36% of jobs have a medium potential for automation, meaning they will likely undergo significant transformation or be lost altogether. Even the remaining 39% of jobs with low automation risk are expected to experience changes in the coming years.
How many jobs will be lost to automation by 2030?
By 2030, automation is expected to result in the loss of up to 73 million jobs in the United States. This accounts for a significant 46% of the current job market, indicating a major shift in employment dynamics. Industries with high risk, such as manufacturing, are projected to lose up to 20 million jobs by 2030.
Who is being affected by automation?
Self-checkout, electronic record keeping, and tax preparation are tasks that are increasingly being automated by technology. While automation has changed some jobs, it has completely eliminated others.
In our latest report, we explore which types of workers are most at risk of job loss due to automation and what skills they need to secure in-demand jobs. To learn more, you can also listen to our podcast featuring Dawn Locke, an expert on workforce training and education at GAO.
Workers with lower levels of education who perform routine tasks, such as cashiers or file clerks, face the highest risks of job automation. However, automation is expected to have a widespread impact, with estimates suggesting that anywhere from 9 to 47 percent of jobs could be automated in the future.
To better understand the effects of automation on the workforce, federal agencies are working to gather more data. For example, the Department of Labor plans to collect information from industries like retail trade, healthcare, and transportation to gain insights into how automation is affecting jobs.
Workers affected by automation may need to acquire new skills to adapt to changing job requirements or find new employment opportunities. According to data from the Department of Labor, in-demand jobs that are projected to experience the fastest growth in the next decade will require a combination of soft skills (interpersonal skills), process skills (active learning and critical thinking), and specific technical expertise (equipment maintenance). The data also indicate that jobs with a greater number of important skills tend to require more education, with active listening, social perceptiveness, and critical thinking being among the key skills.
However, workers face challenges in acquiring these skills. Some training programs focus on quickly securing a job, which may result in short-term or low-wage employment. Additionally, workers may struggle to access programs due to obstacles like finding childcare or maintaining financial stability while participating in training.
To address these challenges, stakeholders suggest that training programs should prioritize in-demand skills needed for high-growth jobs that are less likely to be automated. It is also important for training to build upon workers’ existing skills to help them secure high-quality jobs. Stakeholders recommend that training programs assist workers in obtaining industry-recognized credentials and provide wraparound services like childcare and financial support to ensure access to training.
To learn more about our work on automation and workforce development, please refer to our new report, podcast, and Key Issue page on Employment in a Changing Economy.
Do automated systems mean fewer jobs for high skilled workers?
A recent study conducted by James Bessen, Maarten Goos, Anna Salomons, and Wiljan van den Berge provides quantitative evidence on the impact of automation on individual workers. The study analyzed government data from 2000 to 2016 for 36,000 firms in the Netherlands, covering approximately 5 million workers each year.
The findings reveal that while automation does affect many workers, the adverse effects are relatively limited. Only about 2% of tenured workers at firms investing in automation leave their jobs in the year of the automation event. However, after five years, approximately 85% of these workers will have left their positions. It is unclear whether these workers choose to leave or are let go.
Those who do leave their jobs due to automation experience significant economic costs, primarily due to periods of unemployment. This negatively impacts their economic prospects and overall well-being. Despite the existence of welfare programs like unemployment insurance, these programs do not adequately compensate for the income lost by workers.
Interestingly, highly-educated and highly-paid workers are more likely to leave their jobs as a result of automation, although they also tend to find new employment more quickly. On the other hand, less well-paid workers experience more severe effects from automation.
To understand the impact of automation on a larger scale, the study examines “automation spikes,” defined as years in which firms significantly increase their investments in automation compared to previous years. By comparing workers who experience these spikes with a control group, the study analyzes how automation affects workers. The analysis includes both tenured workers and recently hired employees.
Contrary to popular belief, the study shows that the introduction of automation in the workplace is not equivalent to mass layoffs or plant closings. While workers do experience some loss of earnings and work following an automation spike, these losses are significantly less severe than those experienced after a mass layoff. Only 0.7% of all workers, on average, leave their jobs each year due to automation, compared to much higher rates for mass layoffs.
Furthermore, the effects of automation occur gradually, allowing workers more time to react and adjust compared to the sudden impact of mass layoffs. The real impact of automation is on income and the duration of unemployment. Tenured workers, on average, lose approximately 3,800 Euros in wage and salary earnings over five years, equivalent to about 9% of one year’s income. Recent hires experience a smaller negative impact, reflecting their adaptability and flexibility. These losses are primarily due to longer periods of non-employment for workers who leave their firms.
For workers who remain with their employers, wage rates do not change significantly. The study also examines differences across firms and workers with different characteristics. While low-wage occupations are not necessarily the hardest hit by automation, lower-paid workers do experience longer periods of unemployment after leaving their jobs. The probability of leaving employment does not vary significantly by age or gender among tenured workers, but older workers are more likely to leave among recent hires. The impacts of automation are observed across all industry sectors studied, with manufacturing industries experiencing more severe effects.
Overall, the study suggests that the burden placed on workers by automation is less significant than that created by mass layoffs and plant closings resulting from factors like declining demand or bankruptcies. However, the burden on affected workers is still substantial, and existing safety net programs do not provide sufficient economic security. It is important to note that the impact of automation may worsen in the future, and further research is needed to understand its effects on net employment and newly hired workers.
This article was originally published on the Technology & Policy Research Initiatives website.
How automation can improve productivity?
Business leaders are facing immense pressure to deliver results in today’s challenging market. Automation is a crucial tool for improving efficiency and productivity across all departments. It is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. Automation tools not only enhance business performance but also help combat burnout and improve work-life balance, which are crucial for retaining employees in a shifting labor market.
The C-suite is under increased pressure to deliver results amidst inflation, supply chain disruptions, market volatility, and recession fears. To meet these challenges, companies must strive to do more with the resources at their disposal while providing better customer and employee experiences.
Investing in business process automation is one of the fastest ways to improve efficiency and productivity across all departments, including sales, service, marketing, commerce, IT, human resources, and finance. Automation reduces repetitive tasks and allows software to handle them, resulting in better customer experiences, reduced errors, improved compliance, and lower stress for teams.
Prioritizing automation helps business leaders focus on increasing efficiency, improving results, and delivering value.
The Benefits of Automation
Automation is no longer a luxury; it is a necessity, especially in challenging economic times.
With real-time data, automation technology can trigger immediate actions based on changes in customer behavior or market conditions. When combined with artificial intelligence (AI), companies can use advanced systems that not only perform repetitive tasks but also learn, adapt, and make decisions based on real-time data. This combination enables organizations to deliver highly personalized customer experiences at scale while driving productivity and efficiency.
Today, employees and leaders view automation as a complementary tool. Surveys show that more than 90% of workers believe automation solutions increase their productivity, boost collaboration, and help them make faster decisions without errors. Automation also relieves employees of tedious tasks, allowing them to focus on building relationships with customers and taking on new projects.
Vonage, a global leader in cloud communications, used automation technologies to unify and streamline its workforce and systems. By consolidating customer data, Vonage made it easier and faster for sales teams to understand customer needs. Automation also simplified quote creation and management, reducing provisioning time and the risk of human error.
Business Results and Growth
In a recent survey, nearly 80% of employees reported that automation gave them more time to deepen relationships with customers, take on new projects, and learn new skills. Automation tools also improve the overall employee experience, with nearly 90% feeling more satisfied with their jobs and 84% more satisfied with their employer. Combating burnout and improving work-life balance through automation are critical strategies for retaining employees in a shifting labor market.
As a seasoned CIO, I have learned best practices for getting started with automation. Here’s how you can adopt and scale automation tools to drive growth in any economic environment:
1. Listen to business partners across the company and prioritize automation initiatives that generate the most business value. Developing an automation strategy requires understanding the needs and objectives of every part of the company, including sales, service, marketing, commerce, and IT. By partnering closely with key business leaders, CIOs can deliver the right technology to achieve the most pressing goals.
2. Unlock and unify data to deliver personalized experiences. Bringing together information from disparate systems into a single platform allows automation to enhance the customer experience by acting on intelligent insights.
3. Scale complex business processes quickly for faster time to value. Look for low-code solutions that empower anyone, not just admins, to build and deploy automation quickly. Off-the-shelf components should be available to automate any business process, while IT should have the tools to build customized automation components.
4. Create an environment that welcomes automation and sharing of ideas. Automation should be seen as a tool to eliminate inefficiencies and improve the health of the business. Encouraging team members to share ideas on removing inefficiencies and eliminating manual processes fosters an environment where employees feel part of the automation strategy.
Automation is a critical capability for digitally transforming companies. Those that invest in automation are poised to reap significant cost savings, productivity benefits, and improved employee and customer experiences. It is a game changer for driving growth and efficiency.
Juan Perez is EVP and CIO of Salesforce.
Learn how Salesforce Flow can help your organization drive growth and efficiency.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of automation compared to live workers?
|Advantages of Automation||Disadvantages of Automation|
|Increased productivity||Job displacement and unemployment|
|Improved accuracy and quality||Initial implementation costs|
|Enhanced efficiency and cost savings||Technical challenges and limitations|
|Increased safety||Reduced human interaction and customer experience|
|Scalability and flexibility||Dependency and loss of skills|
In conclusion, automation is undoubtedly affecting various groups of workers in different ways. While it may seem that high-skilled workers are at risk of losing their jobs due to automated systems, the reality is more complex. Automation does not necessarily mean fewer jobs for high-skilled workers, but rather a shift in the nature of their work. These workers will need to adapt and acquire new skills to remain relevant in the changing job market.
Furthermore, the fear of job losses due to automation is not entirely unfounded. Some jobs will inevitably be replaced by machines, leading to job displacement for certain individuals. However, history has shown that automation also creates new job opportunities. As technology advances, new industries and roles emerge, requiring a different set of skills. It is crucial for workers to embrace lifelong learning and continuously update their skills to remain employable in the face of automation.
Automation can also have a positive impact on employee satisfaction. By taking over repetitive and mundane tasks, automated systems free up employees’ time and allow them to focus on more meaningful and challenging work. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, as employees feel more engaged and fulfilled in their roles. Additionally, automation can reduce the risk of human error, leading to higher job satisfaction and confidence in the quality of work produced.
Lastly, automation has the potential to significantly improve productivity. By automating repetitive tasks, businesses can streamline their operations and allocate resources more efficiently. This not only saves time but also reduces costs and increases output. With automation, employees can work more effectively and focus on tasks that require human creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking. As a result, productivity levels can soar, leading to improved business performance and competitiveness.
While automation may bring about challenges and uncertainties, it also presents opportunities for growth and innovation. It is essential for individuals, businesses, and policymakers to embrace automation and proactively adapt to the changing landscape. By understanding the potential impacts and harnessing the benefits of automation, we can navigate this technological revolution and create a future where humans and machines work together harmoniously.
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