workplace automation

Impact of Automation on White-Collar Jobs

Technology is ever-changing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) is booming now. This could be seen as a threat to white-collar workers’ jobs as computers can mimic abilities of human brain such as learning and analysing. Therefore, jobs that require high education and highly skilled work are at risk, due to automation and A.I.

Different abilities of machines

In the recent years, there is a dramatic increase in the ability of computers to perform as well as or even better in some tasks than humans. Computers are known to be the “perfect employee” as they are not restricted by biology. They do not complain or get tired when working long hours, unlike human employees. Furthermore, computers can now process more accurate information and data much faster than the human brains can. They can also be programmed to perform repetitive tasks that creates a lot of data way better than humans.

Statistics about work

According to Future of Jobs Report (2018), by World Economic Forum, it appears that machines will increasingly be used for more tasks. One example is ‘looking to and receiving job-related information and data processing’, with high proportion of work done by machines. The same survey also predicts that 52% of work will be done by machines by 2025.

Another survey by McKinesy & Company estimates that between 400 to 800 million individuals’ (jobs) could be displaced by automation by 2030.

However, all is not gloom and doom for the office workers. PWC studied the landscape of A.I. and found that the number of new jobs created because of A.I. and automation could be a lot more than number of jobs lost. PWC’s study estimates that in jobs lost to automation will be offset by job creation with a net gain of 12%.

Moving with automation and machines

Instead of working against automation, a better solution would be working together and going ahead of it. With automation, many problems we face daily can be easily solved, such as data entry and manual calculations. A lot of research has shown that by going digital, there would be an increased in performance since machines can perform tasks faster. There would also be greater focus on innovation and value creation as time spent on manual labour can be saved and be used for critical thinking that only humans can do.

In conclusion, although it is certain that AI technology is booming now and has a great impact on white-collar jobs, it can be a good ally if used efficiently. However, we still cannot escape the fact that many jobs will be affected and thus, it is time for us to consider the issues seriously.

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