Intro to the Future of Work

Forrester Research suggests that automation is essential to the next digital transition period because it is the catalyst for quick delivery of goods, superior product quality, enhanced efficiency, and broader customization and comfort.

If groundbreaking technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and robotic process automation (RPA) are already gaining traction in today’s workplace, what will the future of work look like?

This trend, coupled with a healthy skepticism, leads many to fear for their jobs. The truth is that by 2022, AI is estimated to displace around 75 million jobs. However, it will also create 133 million brand new roles. So, while the upcoming transition into the future of work might prove to be a bit bumpy, it will still be decidedly people-powered.

The way these technologies are fostered, for many employees, may be more meaningful than the automation on its own. If organizations wistfully implement technologies to expedite production, the opposite effect may result—e.g., declines in productivity.

Additionally, some suspect that the majority of employees will not stand to substantially gain from automation. But this disruptive tech does have the potential to create a more equitable company culture and a better work-life balance. Since these technologies allow everyone to perform their job-related duties much faster and more efficiently, they could bolster the move to a four-day workweek.

For those in careers with the highest probability of being impacted by automation, future job security necessarily relies on upskilling and/or reskilling. Sectors such as construction, retail, logistics, and manufacturing stand to be heavily impacted.

According to the 2018 installment of the World Economic Forum’s Future Jobs Report, 54 percent of employees are expected to go through large amounts of upskilling. This is especially true with the many advancements in AI and ML. Many enterprises already have programs in place to upskill their current workforce. Even Amazon has dedicated $700 million to its upskilling programs.