In a world where automation is increasingly invading literally every industry and sector of the population, there is some amount of concern as to how this will impact jobs in the future. Will automation eliminate many positions now held by humans, thus increasing unemployment rates or will it simply enable those workers to move onto more important tasks? Here, Angel Business Suite, 23-26 St Albans Place, London, N1 0NX looks at the impact of automation on the future of jobs here in the UK as well as what this means to the workforce on a global level.
“We provide office space to some of the most forward thinking small businesses in the UK and one concern that seems to be prevalent in the SME sector is just how automation will impact two very important aspects of their businesses,” explains the Operations Manager. “First, some of the office staff are concerned that automating customer service and tech support will literally put them out of work. Secondly, administrators are looking at the bottom line for their company. Will automation increase profitability by streamlining processes that can be time consuming for reps handling calls?”
In an effort to answer these questions, the Operations Manager at Angel Business Suite did a bit of investigative research and found that the current thinking is that most jobs will still be secure. According to research conducted by McKinsey & Company, it is true that some positions will be eliminated but for the most part, artificial intelligence and automation will actually enable workers to spend more time on critical thinking and less time on mundane rote tasks. For example, customer service reps will actually have more time to spend with aggrieved customers because routine questions can be answered by automated call answering systems and kiosks in physical locations.
“In terms of profitability for businesses, there may be some initial expense in purchasing the automated technology but with improved and streamlined processes much more can be accomplished with less human intervention on time consuming tasks,” he says. Current thinking is that most jobs will need to be redefined in the future and even though some may be negated altogether, other jobs will be made smoother for both the worker and management as well.
The conclusion is that while we are still in the early days of automation, there is much to suggest that there is a need for further research and development before an accurate assessment can be made as to the impact of automation on jobs here at home in the UK or even abroad. “At the moment there is nothing to fear because to date only 45% of jobs can be affected but not entirely eliminated. What I see is increased productivity amongst workers and higher profits for companies and that’s a good thing all the way around.”