Automation & AI will complement the future of your workforce: A skill shift

 |  Jun 30, 2018

Future is going to demand too much. To keep up, your workforce will need to update their technological, social & emotional, and higher cognitive skills in the near future.

Since the last Industrial Revolution, adoption of new-age-tech has accompanied skill shifts – but adoption of automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence will mark the acceleration of the shifts of recent past. As per our observation, the need for technological, social and emotional needs will rise; but the need for some skills including those of physical and manual, will fall. This will require the entire workforce to deepen their existing skill set or simply acquire new ones. And with this will come re-organization of work inside a company. 
This briefing, on impact of technology will majorly focus on 25 major workplace skills in the current scenario. 

How will demand for workplace skills change with growing demands of automation & technology

There is no doubt about it – as people will interact with ever-smarter machines, productivity will rise. This increment in productivity will be accompanied by improved corporate performance and growth. While the demand for technological skills has been growing since 2002, it will gather pace in 2020 to 2030 period.New- age technologies will eventually require people who understand how they function and can innovate. But most importantly, how they can be embedded in the system. It is however well understood, that people with these skills will inevitably be a minority. However, social & emotional skills are something that machines are a long way from mastering. In aggregate, the kind of workforce you will need as a leader, will be best of both the worlds.

In aggregate, the kind of workforce you will need as a leader, will be best of both the worlds.

The study says – need for most physical and manual skills will decline, but they will remain the largest category of workforce skills. The demand for physical and manual skills has been declining for 15 to 20 years, and this decline will continue with automation. Between 2020 and 2030, demand for these skills will fall by 11 percent overall, around the globe.

Shifting skill requirements in 3 sectors

This analysis in the report highlights a number of similarities in the every changing patterns, but also few variations. For example, while social and emotional skills will be in growing demand across all five sectors, the need for basic cognitive skills will decline in banking and manufacturing, stay flat in healthcare, and only fall back slightly in retail.

Banking and insurance

Financial services have been at the forefront of digital adoption. As a cherry on top, there’s a whole new industrial domain called FinTech catering to all their requirements. The financial-services sector contains a range of potential uses for AI, especially in forecasting risk and personalizing the marketing of products to customers. The number of workers such as tellers, accountants, and brokerage clerks will decline as automation is adopted.


The next wave of automation and AI in manufacturing will disrupt production functions. It will also have an impact on product development and on marketing and sales. All this, because of cutting-edge analytics & better-than-before human interaction with technology.

The overall need for physical and manual skills in the sector is decreasing at more than twice the rate of that for the whole economy. The need for basic cognitive skills is also declining as office support functions are automated.


Smart automation, machine learning and AI will continue to reshape the revenue and margins of retailers. Machine learning will further make prediction of customer demand possible. The state of predictable manual jobs will decline. On the other hand, requirement for crazy interpersonal skills, creativity and empathy will be on a rise. Top-notch skills related to Information Technology along with complex complex information processing skills will undoubtedly see a surge in demand.

Allocation of work activities will be altered. All the work will be “re-arranged”

Altering work allocation will allow companies to make the most effective use of different qualification levels in their workforce. As a survey states, 40 percent of companies describing themselves as extensive adopters of automation and AI expect to shift tasks currently performed by high-skill workers to lower-skill ones.
Restructuring the work environment definitely raises a company efficiency in this scenario, and there’s possibility to create a new set of middle-skill, “new-collar” jobs.Now, are you ready to adopt automation and machine learning?
**Sources: Bain Insights, INSEAD Knowledge & McKinsey Surverys



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