By Lavine Hemlani, Xccelerate Co-founder & CEO
The Future of Work…Is Here
A report by the McKinsey Global Institute posits that between 400 to 800 millions job are at risk of automation by 2030, which is one in every five of the global workforce. While the exact number of jobs that will be automated is debatable, it is undeniable that what we call “work” is changing rapidly.
so why are jobs being lost?
Whether its self-driving cars, robo-trading systems, automated oncology or human-less manufacturing, companies in virtually every industry are etching closer to technological breakthroughs which eradicate traditional human capital. Such companies are incentivised to stay ahead of their competitors using technology investment to unlock value for customers and stakeholders.
In Hong Kong, 93% of GDP comes from professional services such as legal, compliance, accounting and financial management. Many metropolitan cities such as Hong Kong house these sort of fields which are especially prone to automation and is going to require working professionals to seek new skill sets to adapt. In fact, in a recent survey, 62% of executives believe they will need to replace or train more than 25% of their workforce in the next 5 years.
a question of mindset
There are several historical precedents for shifting labor markets to accommodate technological progress and invention. For example, at the start of the 20th century, ~40% of the U.S. workforce was employed in agricultural vocations. By 2000, agriculture represented ~2% of the workforce. Much of this labor was redeployed into industrial, manufacturing and office jobs that did not exist previously. Even though labor markets shifted dramatically, new jobs and industries were created and drove cumulative global productivity and per-capita income forward. But if technology comes for your job, where do you go?
With the onset of automation, two major converging belief systems are emerging:
1. Boo! Robots!
Automation leads to mass unemployment that will drive a number of calamities and unprecedented socio-political turmoil. Government interjection with policies such as Universal Basic Income (UBI) is going to be required with a growing income inequality between the haves and have-nots. We as a species are going to be as irrelevant as horses when the automobile came through and its only a matter of time before the machines take over!
2. Nah... it's not that bad
Job loss is unavoidable yet the emergence and adoption of advanced technologies will bring benefits to our per capita standards of living. New, cutting edge industries will be created that promise a new set of jobs that people can and should be trained for. Some jobs might no longer exist but we should see this as an opportunity to learn new skills and explore an exciting new opportunity in technology. While the fear of change is real, by investing in education, we will be able to find new meaning and purpose in our new careers.
life long learning is crucial
Whether you are optimistic or pessimistic about the future of automation, your job is statistically more likely to be automated, at least to some degree. The big question is what are you going to do about it?
I believe a focus on life-long learning and a mindset of growth is crucial to be able to successfully transition into a new role. By reasoning deductively, if workers want to remain competitive in the “new” job market, they are going to have to invest in new skills and knowledge sets that they did not learn formally on-the-job or in a tertiary education institution. Many formal education systems do not churn out graduates with the level of readiness that employers are looking for. In fact, it seems some colleges are preparing students for what employers were hiring for 15 years ago.
a tale of two traders
what could be next for you?
For many companies and countries, enabling their communities to build and adapt to new marketable skillsets for industries that are only just emerging is increasingly challenging. There are variety of new jobs in industries like data science, machine learning, software engineering, Blockchain that are commanding high salaries (given the supply shortage) and the ability to deliver a meaningful career.
At Accelerate, we compel each student to be highly involved and in-charge by taking ownership of their education as much as we are.
If your job is prone to automation, put forward your learning mindset no matter your role or industry.
As Xccelerate Co-founder & CEO, Lavine is passionate about eliminating the financial barrier between high-quality education and equal opportunity for motivated learners to unleash their true potential. With campuses in Hong Kong and Singapore, Accelerate has trained 700+ professionals and boasts a 91% hiring success rate in their immersive programs.