Jobs warning sounded: 70% to go within 10 years

Monday, 15 May, 2017

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Companies have been warned to adapt or face the consequences, with expectations that 70% of current jobs will be obsolete within 10 years.

Workforce specialist Lee Hecht Harrison’s (LHH) general manager (Western Australia), Peter James, sounded the alarm at an event in Perth last week.

He cautioned against ignoring the technological tide due to hit companies and employees alike.

“Technology is advancing so fast that organisations and whole professions can disappear in a matter of months due to disruptive competitors,” said James.

“Industry leaders need to prepare themselves for inevitable disruption.

“Changing with the technology is intrinsic to corporate and professional survival now. 70% of jobs we engage in now will not exist in five to 10 years.

“The challenge is ensuring our workforce is ready to embrace the 70% of new jobs that will be created.”

James’s stark warning was delivered at the HR Thought Leaders Luncheon in Perth last Wednesday, which focused on the job market and the consequences of automation, robotics and digitisation.

“Anything that can be automated will be and anything that can be virtualised will be shifted to lower cost environments,” added LHH’s senior consultant, Fred Troncone.

“This means that repetitive, routine jobs which are most receptive to automation will reduce as the pace of change continues to increase.

“If you don’t think it will happen to you just look at the example of IBM. It will move on 72,000 people in 2017 who have the wrong skills and hire a similar number with the right skills,” he added.

“The message there is clear — if you are involved in technology or have technology as a major focus of your business, it is about to be turned on its head, and if you don’t turn it on its head, you will be out of business. It’s not a choice,” Troncone said.

Despite the dire forecast, Troncone said that a smooth adaption to technological advancement can be accomplished by moving away from a hierarchical corporate model with static job descriptions, to a more fluid one that enables people to change their roles in line with changes in technology.

“Digital disruption is not a technology problem — it’s about how we organise our people and businesses to stay ahead of the curve,” he said.

Troncone also noted that not all of today’s jobs will disappear. While repetitive, formulaic jobs will need to change, creative and non-routine jobs will endure and continue to be undertaken by people as opposed to machines.

Image credit: ©Dario Lo Presti/Dollar Photo Club

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