“Forget about the professionals of the future. Worry about the future of professionals.”
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” ….Stephen Hawking
Article written by Sridhar K, Chief Digital Officer, TalentSprint
Disruption at the helm can bring with it a transformation which can have a domino effect. Often employees of organizations, find it difficult to come to terms with technological advances, thereby making them feel inadequate and insecure at their workplace. As the adage goes ‘shape up or ship out’. Those who choose to stay back are forced to accept changes with tasks requiring add on skilling or unlearning. For those who could adopt to these changes, career becomes exciting and for the others survival becomes a challenge.
Technological advancements have been casting a shadow over the future of traditional jobs, rendering them obsolete. This tech-driven colossal change is definitely a cause of some serious worry for the existing professionals. It is putting a debate about the future of humans in the automated world gather worrying proportions.
Future of Professionals
McKinsey predicts far higher levels of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and development of distributed autonomous corporations that will be able to carry out complex business tasks without any direct human supervision or intervention. The picture of a job-deficit future is looming large with human subservience to AI going north and the present workforce not able to evolve quickly to this tech evolution. A recent study by Oxford University reveals that almost 47 per cent of our present jobs could be automated in the coming two decades. So,technological disruptions are going to fundamentally alter the employment pattern and the future of the professionals are under threat.
Radical adoption to the new technologies and developing skills that match the future needs of the industry are the key requirements for the professionals to survive this challenge.
Looking ahead: Socio-economic view
The present imbalance between the rapid tech development and slow pace of skill development doesn’t paint an optimistic picture. With proposed billion plus job seekers by 2050, along with a backlog of 60 million (as of 2014), the labour supply is undoubtedly in full force, albeit with irrelevant, low or no skills.
While a paradigm shift at a war-footing pace is needed to tide this massive challenge ahead of us, some initiatives have been introduced, in fits and starts. More than 10 million youth have received training under the ambitious Skill India Mission in the year 2015-16, 36.8 percent higher than the previous year’s recorded data show recent government statistics. These numbers indicate the journey to achieve the ambitious Skill India Mission target of 402 million workers by 2022. Working on the upskilling and reskilling of the present workforce and work on their ability to absorb new skills can further reduce this negative impact.
The changing face of industrialisation will require a new policy focus and upgrading the standards of industrial training which is yet to come out of the old school of thought. With outdated apparatus, the basic and outdated industrial training in the country, we churn out just 1.7 million graduates every year. Add to it the rigid mind-set against vocational education and the societal and historical bend towards academic courses and their pursuit as the desired career options makes it a challenging issue to deal with. The industry too is unwilling to offer a premium for skills despite the absence of skilled manpower being one of the biggest constraints in its growth.
The entire scenario makes the problem two-fold with the lack of a comprehensive policy framework to enable the right context for vocational education and the change in mindset about it being a viable alternative to pursuing dead-end academic courses. What is needed are efforts to identify skills that are relevant in today’s world, adapting to change and ability to un-learn and re-learn. Preparing workforce for the future is a must. But one cannot forget the existing manpower that has the potential to stand out if shown the right path. Given the competition levels and dearth of jobs, one has to worry about the future of professionals.
Looking ahead: Professional’s view
While the socio-economic ramifications are high, the solution for the individual professionals is far simpler. The demand for unique and multifaceted digital skills is going to increase manifold while repetitive jobs are going to be automated. Hence, for the professionals, need for learning starts now with the additional challenge of unlearning the past which is redundant to today’s scenario. Cobotics, i.e. co-operative robotics is here and those who adopt to the same have a great future.