Published 06 July 2017 Category: Compass Tips, Business, Insights

The Future of Your Job

How can you know if your job will be digitalised, automated, or robotised?

There are three types of dislocations that may occur to almost any job on the planet — digitalisation, automation, and robotisation.

Digitalisation
Refers to the digital transformation that engulfs nearly every industry today. Amazon is one of the first real examples of the digital revolution. For instance, you now wouldn’t need to go to a bookstore to buy a book; everything is done via browser and delivered to your home.

Automation
The process whereby humans try to simplify tasks through the use of technologies in order to improve and increase efficiency. The plough, the wheel, the yoke and harness, and the spindle are just a few examples of such automations made thousands of years ago. Today, automation is the use of technology to activate, execute, monitor, and control processes, products, or services, and their delivery so they will be self-acting. Under the category of “automation” you can find autonomous cars and drones as well as automation of IT and other software delivery, testing, monitoring, and failure-detection processes.

Robotisation
The latest technology development, born from major advancements in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, engineering, and data analytics. Robots can be “simple” automated arms that assemble and manufacture cars; they can be humanoid caregiver robots that assist the elderly population; they can be military assistance robots; and they also can be software-only robots, aka “chatbots.”

These dislocations affect advanced societies, emerging markets, and less developed countries. No country, industry, or job is immune. How can you know if your job will be digitalised, automated, or robotised, or what sort of dislocation your job will experience? Ask yourself these three questions:

1. Did your job/profession exist before World War II?
2. Are there many others like you that do the exact same job, in your organisation or in others?
3. Do you have an association or union for your job/profession?

If you answered “yes” to all three questions, then your job will most likely be digitised or robotized.
If you answered “no” to one or more of the questions, proceed to the next group:

1. Does your job require a higher-education degree?
2. Do you need to employ creativity in your job?
3. Does your work require the interaction and collaboration with others inside your organisation?

If you answered “no” to all three questions, then your job will be automated.
If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions, proceed to the final group:

1. Does your job require you to have a routine or work according to a specific method, template, or standard?
2. Will your job be affected if another job you work with is automated, robotised, or digitised?
3. Does your job act as an intermediary between other jobs in a process or activity?

If you answered “yes” to all three questions, then your job will be automated or digitised.
If you are still answering “no” to any of the questions, chances are your human skills are still required.
But there are no guarantees you’ll still be answering “no” in the not-so-distant future.

What should you do?
This is the most significant question. Awareness is the most important first step. Understand the reality  -  the potential that your job could be automated and eliminated. It’s also essential to take ownership of your career. If you can, take steps so that you won’t become “scriptable” by making a commitment to continuous learning. If you do find yourself on the outside looking in, seek to re-skill yourself  - either for your current job or the next one.