The Rise of Automated Work

According to a report from McKinsey & Company, nearly one-third of companies (31 percent) have fully automated at least 1 function. Furthermore, the same report revealed that 66 percent of companies are piloting solutions to automate at least one of their business processes.

Like it or not, it’s safe to say that automation is here to stay. In the future, more business processes will be automated than ever before.

Are you feeling nervous about the inevitable prevalence of automation in your industry?

Read on to learn more about the positive and negative impacts the rise of automation will have on the modern workplace. You’ll also find some insights into how you can prepare for it.

Essential Automation Stats

Most people are aware of the rise of automated work in Canada and throughout the world. Not everyone understands the extent of this increase, though, or what kinds of plans are being made for the future.

The following are some key automation facts and statistics that everyone should know:

AI Is Here to Stay

Another McKinsey report reveals that one-third of all tasks in approximately two-thirds of jobs could potentially be automated. The research company Gartner also predicts that, by the year 2024, 69 percent of all managerial work will be automated.

Lots of business leaders (50 percent, in fact) report that they have plans to accelerate the automation of various repetitive tasks within their organizations.

For a while, some employees and employers may have held onto the hope that automation and AI were passing fads. Based on the data, though, it’s clear that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Automation Doesn’t Always Lead to Fewer Jobs

One of the greatest fears that people have regarding automation is that it will lead to fewer jobs and displace workers in various fields.

Approximately 31 percent of organizations have expressed concerns about labour displacement and job losses that may result from automation in the workplace. However, these same organizations are also taking steps to address these concerns early to minimize fallout.

Rather than simply capitalizing on the cost savings that automation provides, companies are actively looking to internally redeploy nearly half of their workers to ensure they retain their jobs after automation is implemented.

Training Skills Shift

Skill Shifts Will Be Required Sooner Rather Than Later

One of the best ways to combat the negative effects of automation is for employees to work on developing new skill sets so they can adapt to the changes brought on by automation.

Experts estimate that between 7 and 24 percent of women and between 8 and 28 percent of men will need to transition in the future. The sooner workers can begin developing these new skills, the better off they’ll be in the long run.

Pros of Increased Automation

There are plenty of benefits that have come and will continue to come with the rise of automation in the workplace. The following are some of the most noteworthy pros to keep in mind when contemplating automation’s impact:

Better Time Management

One of the greatest advantages businesses can enjoy when they automate various processes and practices is increased efficiency and improved time management.

A whopping 73 percent of IT leaders say that automation has helped their employees to reduce the amount of time they spend on manual tasks by between 10 and 50 percent. 42 percent of business leaders also agree that workflow automation helps repetitive tasks to get completed faster.

Increased Productivity

When employees can get things done quicker, especially time-consuming and repetitive manual tasks, the overall productivity of the company improves. They’re able to accomplish more in less time, which generally leads to greater earnings and higher levels of customer satisfaction across the board. 

Lower Costs

For companies that are looking to lower costs, automation can be a major money saver.

It can indeed be expensive upfront to invest in technology and automate various processes at a company. Long-term, though, these investments reduce spending as they increase efficiency and improve productivity. 

Approximately 57 percent of IT leaders say that automation saves departments between 10 and 50 percent on manual processing costs. Thirty-one percent of business leaders also agree that automation software helps them to reduce labour costs.

Fewer Errors

Automation doesn’t just help companies get more done in a short time frame and for less money. It also results in increased accuracy, increased consistency, and fewer employee errors.

At best, errors are irritating and require extra time to correct. At worst, they can lead to major expenses for your company and can damage its reputation.

Anything that can be done to prevent these issues from occurring is worth considering, especially as the world continues to become more competitive.

Increased Safety

Finally, automation improves safety, particularly in manufacturing fields.

Because there is less room for human error, automation protects employees from being injured on the job. This saves businesses money by protecting them from lawsuits, and it ensures that employees can enjoy a safer work experience. 

Cons of Increased Automation

Of course, there are also downsides to the rise of automated work. Here are some important cons to remember as well:

Rising Costs for Automation

High Initial Investments

The cost of automation is often quite high. Whether a company is investing in automation software or purchasing equipment to automate its manufacturing processes, it costs a lot upfront to buy these things and get them installed or set up.

There’s also the time investment to consider. It takes time to install new equipment and systems, train employees to use them properly, and get over the initial growing pains that are created by any kind of company-wide update.

Less Customization

Lots of companies love the increased efficiency and consistency that automation provides. At the same time, though, others prefer a greater deal of customization. They might even feel that their work loses personality when processes are automated.

For those that pride themselves on offering a highly customized experience to their customers, automation may get in the way of their efforts. 

Job Uncertainty

Of course, there is also the job uncertainty that comes with an increase in automated work. Some people’s jobs will be made obsolete when their employers implement automation software or utilize machines to handle manual tasks that were once completed by humans.

Businesses can take steps to minimize the fallout from automation and set their employees up for a smoother transition to different jobs. However, this requires a great deal of planning and preparation, and not all companies are prepared to take that on.

How to Prepare for the Future of Work

The Future of Work

It doesn’t matter if you’re a business owner who’s worried about how automation will affect your employees or a worker who’s afraid of being phased out. There are lots of steps you can take to prepare for the increase in automation, as it’s definitely not going to slow down anytime soon.

The following tips will help you feel more confident moving into this new phase of life:

Prioritize Training

For workers who are worried about job loss from the rise of automated work, prioritizing training and building skills in new areas can provide peace of mind and help them transition to new positions more easily.

There are plenty of low-cost programs that assist workers in developing new skills over short periods of time so they can get into newer (and often high-paying) positions faster.

Incentivize Skill-Building

Employers can also assist workers and prepare them for increases in automation by incentivizing skill-building.

By paying for employees to learn new skills (or at least reimbursing them for courses they take on their own), employers can encourage workers to take the rise of automated work seriously. They can also help them prepare to take on new jobs and new responsibilities.

Consult with Experts

For companies that want to utilize automation software or technology, consulting with experts can help them to do so in a way that causes the least amount of disruption to the business and the employees.

Business automation consultants can assist with implementation, training, and more to set companies up for success and minimize the potential fallout brought on by automation.

Stay Curious

Finally, employers and employees alike can prepare for increases in automation by staying curious about what the future holds.

Rather than jumping to conclusions about the effects of automation on your company or your position within a company, it’s more productive to ask questions and look for resources to help you navigate the situation.

Whether it’s training in a new field or partnering with a consultant, there are lots of tools out there that can make the transition easier for everyone involved. 

Are You Ready for the Rise of Automated Work?

It’s understandable if you feel nervous about the impact of automation on the employment landscape. Lots of workers and employers across the globe are in the same boat.

Remember the information outlined above, though, and you’ll have an easier time preparing for the future of work and responding to the rise of automation.