Did you know that 50% of transaction oriented jobs around the world will be automated in the next 2-3 years?
We humans have rapidly but silently moved on from the Digital Age to the Age of AI and Automation, which is known as the Hyper Automation Age.
So, why should we take work automation seriously?
The reason is that bots are emulating human actions, human voice and human cognition. In other words we have created a complete Digital worker using technologies like RPA, CAI and Machine Learning.
The Digital Worker is taking over many routine and repetitive tasks that were done by human workers until now. Digital worker technology adoption is at its nascence but will reach critical mass in 2-3 years. By then Digital workers will replace more than 50% of transaction oriented jobs which require handling and management of data.
Jobs that will be automated in the next 2-3 years:
• Data Entry
• Informational Research
• Financial Analysis
• Print & TV Advertising
• Customer Support
• Banking Services and Retail Checkout
• Outbound Sales
• Digital Marketing
• Any repeatable task that can be learnt
If you are working in any of these jobs or careers you will get an unpleasant surprise in the near future. If you want to avoid the pain of losing your job to a bot, then this is the time to up skill yourself.
There are two types of skills that you will need to thrive in the age of automation:
e.g., Software engineer – coding, testing etc.
Marketing executive – Copy-writing, inside-sales, pre-sales etc.
Financial analyst – Cash flow Analysis, Risk-modelling, Equities research etc.
Technical skills can be acquired either on the job or from outside like training institutes or website.
The shortcoming of technical skills is that there utility is temporary. A skill valued today will not be will change 5-10 years from now. e.g., Lead generation was done primarily over phone and email 10 years ago but today, social media has changed that completely. So we need to learn how to use social media for lead generation. Hence you need to constantly up skill yourself every 2-3 years on technical skills in order to be relevant.
2. Soft skills: These are skills that are human intrinsic meaning it involves using your mind, emotions and body language. These are skills that are transferable from one job to the other.
The beauty of soft skills is that no bot can ever learn to acquire these. So we human do not have any competition from bots when it comes to soft skills.
Soft skills are not temporary in nature. You just have to hone the skills and get towards utilizing them 100%.
The jobs of the future will require you to utilize your soft skills more and more:
• Creative Design
• Insightful Research
• Data Science/Analytics
• Artificial Intelligence
• Robotics & RPA
• Consulting & Advisory
• Solo Entrepreneurship
• Brand Management
• Any task that requires deep work and/or human interactions.
A 2020 World Economic Forum report, The Future of Jobs, looks at the employment, skills and workforce strategy for the future. They have identified 5 critical soft skills that we should learn and hone in order to be successful:
1. Problem Solving
Problem Solving is a structured approach towards solving a business problem.
1. Identify the problem/issue
2. Understand everyone’s interests
3. List possible solutions
4. Evaluate options
5. Select option
How to you develop or hone the skill:
– Spend enough time upfront on understanding and defining the problem
– Brainstorm with other stakeholders and explore multiple solutions
– Test and evaluate solutions
2. Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is process of objective evaluation of facts and consideration of potential solutions to problems.
– Helps in diagnosing the problem correctly
– Identify solutions that are not obvious
– Reduce decision conflict by minimizing bias esp. in a team setting
How to you develop or hone this skill:
– Get into the habit of asking questions till you fully understand the problem
– Do not jump to finding a solution right away. Work with an open mind and explore 2-3 different ways of solving the problem
– Learn from past projects by documenting lessons learned on every project.
Creativity involves coming up new ideas to solve a problem, thinking out of the box, doing something that was not done before. Creativity has two dimensions: innovation and invention. Innovation means you are improving or improvising an existing product or service. Invention means you are creating a new product or service.
How to you develop or hone creativity?
– Be curious: Fire up your imagination
– Be willing to fail: Know that even big ideas fail. Edison failed a 1000 times before inventing the light bulb
– Cultivate positive emotions by being around other positive people. Positive thoughts and emotions inspired.
4. People Management
Involves getting work done through people who are your subordinates, peers and bosses.
How do you develop this skill?
– Developing emotional intelligence (EI), understanding other’s emotions, feelings and managing your relationships with them
– Learn to manage by inspiring your subordinates, collaborating with your peers and aligning with your boss’s goals.
Teamwork and collaboration are the very essence of work. Except for a few individual oriented tasks, majority of work requires team work.
How to you develop or hone this skill
– Develop EI, understanding your emotions and managing them, understanding others emotions are managing relationship with other
– Be a good listener
– Build trust and respect
It is a fact that bots will take over many human jobs in the next 2-3 years. So in order to thrive in the age of automation we need to focus on developing and honing the 5 critical soft skills namely 1. Problem Solving, 2. Critical Thinking, 3. Creativity, 4. People Management and 5. Collaboration. This will ensure that humans will always have a competitive advantage over machines or bots.
Questions to ponder on:
1. Do you following a structured approach while solving a problem at work?
2. Do you think critically and explore multiple solutions for a problem?
3. Have you suggested an idea or solution recently that was completely out of the box?
4. Are you able to get work done from your colleagues without exercising your authority?
5. How often do you pay attention to the emotions or feelings of your colleagues before making a decision that impacts them?