It was William Gibson who said: ‘The future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed yet.’
So, consider this about the future of jobs and the automation of the workforce:
- The first fully-automated restaurant has now opened in San Francisco
- Salad chain Tossed is now automating how you order its food; and
- RBS is to cut 550 jobs as it automates investment advice.
What does this all mean? More than likely, it means that the World Economic Forum prediction that more than five million jobs could be lost to automation by 2020 will become a fast reality. And that is surely just the beginning.
As an internal communicator, predictions on the future of work fascinate me because they provide a glimpse into our how industry will need to evolve and adapt too.
We’ll need to consider:
- The increasing demand for a change management skillset as part of the internal communicators role
- How we engage a workforce that is rapidly moving to automation
- How we support the ‘survivors’ of such change as they move into the new world of work
- Whether our own roles might disappear, as teams are wholesale replaced by automation and there are minimal employees left to engage. (I think the answer to this is quite likely to be ‘yes’ for some industries)
- And finally, is it even thinkable that the role of internal communicator could be automated? Is there an algorithm for that?!
Automation is just one of the key themes emerging from the World Economic Forum report on the future of work, released in January this year. It’s definitely worth a scan through in full if you’ve not seen it yet. Check out the full WEF report – the future of jobs.
- Photo ‘2 little robots’ by Kate McCully courtesy of creative commons