The data in the market on anticipated job loss thanks to automation is quite dire — with the most popular study claiming that nearly 50% of jobs will be impacted. 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.