According to a recent automation report by McKinsey and Company, automation could replace 400 – 800 million workers worldwide by 2030. The firm estimates that around 50% of all jobs can be automated today, and that by 2030, 60% of jobs will be able to be automated.
What does this mean for Industrial Automation?
For OEMs, plant managers, discrete manufacturing, and process automation engineers, this means a rise in efficiency. With AI and Machine Learning doing the analytic work of humans, machines and systems will see an increase in capabilities and will require less human interaction. Companies that invest now in new automation technologies will find themselves ahead of the curve when wide adoption of workplace automation takes hold.
What Jobs should we Invest in?
Automation doesn’t have to mean massive displacement of workers. By starting now, workplaces can begin training programs to develop the talent necessary for a primarily automated workforce. Jobs that facilitate the development and deployment of technologies will be in high demand, for example. Analysts will be required to take the data driven by machine automation and use it further refine processes. A strong IT team will be required to manage investments in technology.
While professions like machine operator and manual assembly work may diminish, studies suggest that mid and upper management positions may remain stable. Lower skilled workers may find opportunities in the service, healthcare, and education sectors, where automation is less likely to displace employees.
The skills employers look for may also change. With rising automation, the most powerful skills will be those unmatched by machines. Strong communication, an ability to manage people, or the ability to develop new technologies or improve existing ones may prove more valuable than experience.