The data in the market on anticipated job loss thanks to automation is quite dire, with the most popular study claiming nearly 50% of jobs will be affected. But these studies have so far ignored an important factor of automation — jobs created.
Yes, there will be jobs lost in the coming years thanks to robots, driverless cars, and cognitive computing; Forrester predicts a 16% job loss rate between 2015 and 2025. But what about jobs created in categories like software, engineering, design, and maintenance? Forrester forecasts automation will create 13.6 million jobs over the next decade, equivalent to 9% of the workforce, to yield a net job loss of 7% in the US by 2025.
Not to be overlooked, according to the study, is a third category: jobs transformed. By 2019, Forrester expects robots to change 25% or more of every job category across every industry. The medical clinician is a great example, as cognitive computing will increasingly transform how doctors diagnose and prescribe treatments.
What does this mean for business? Current thinking has pushed for a rush toward automation to cut costs, but that quite simply should not be the focus. Rather than serving customers as cheaply as possible, automation should be thought of as a means to delivering a customer experience that meets customer expectations instantly. To do so, firms must turn their efforts toward creating an environment where human employees can effectively work alongside robots.