Robots need not apply: a future-proof guide to jobs in the automation era

By Adriana Hamacher

I’ll kid you not, it won’t be easy. Companies looking for fail-safe strategies for the coming years will need to create specialised work environments for jobs that don’t yet exist, in sectors that have not yet been created. A recent WEF study found that 60 per cent of the jobs that will be most in demand over the next decade have not even been invented yet. What’s more, according to some analysts, a large portion of core academic curriculum content is already out of date by the time students graduate. Skills instability is on the up in all industries, with many current roles hard to recruit for.

desktop robot

Image by Matthew Hurst/Flickr

It’s not helpful that the experts disagree on whether automation will have a devastating effect on human employment or not. What differs from previous waves of upheaval, many say, is that the pace of change is greater and its effect is broader; the automation era demands that displaced workers in routine, unskilled jobs graduate to non-routine, skilled jobs to stay ahead, instead of moving to similar-level jobs in other industries as before. Early indications suggest the employment market isn’t evolving fast enough to keep up with this change.

Others argue that automation increases productivity which leads to economic growth and new jobs. In the developed world, 3-D printing will drive companies to bring their manufacturing back to their home countries; self-driving vehicles will give people more time to consume goods and services, boosting demand. Humans and machines will also increasingly partner to great effect. To highlight an example: autopilot didn’t put pilots out of a job; instead it foreshadowed collaboration between human and machine on complex tasks. The increasing popularity of collaborative robots –cobots– is further evidence of this trend.

Capitalising on our humanity

It’s no surprise that, in a technological age, most new jobs will be in specialised areas: computing, mathematics, architecture and engineering. Technology also has a habit of obsoleting itself at an increasingly accelerated pace, so we need more people to create new tech, maintain it and help others use it. We need expertise in design, testing, implementing and refining smart automated systems. AI firms are said to be busy hiring poets to write dialogue for chatbots.

Some jobs are always likely to be better done by humans, especially those involving empathy or social interaction. Research by Deloitte, in the UK, finds that the future workforce will benefit from a “balance of technical skills and more general purpose skills such as problem solving skills, creativity, social skills, and emotional intelligence.” Jobs that fall into these categories – nurses, trainers, entertainers and more – will probably fare well in a more automated world. That’s not to say that AI and robots won’t eventually be capable of performing these roles (in some cases better than humans), but the recent resurgence of artisans in cities worldwide shows that just because something can be automated, it doesn’t mean it will be.

Survival of the most adaptable

But the reality is that in order to keep up-to-date with the latest technological advances, people will need to consistently retrain. Thus the future of work will soon become “the survival of the most adaptable”, to quote Paul Mason, emerging technologies director for Innovate UK. Holding a job for life will rarely be an option.

AI will also require big changes in the way education is delivered, just as the Industrial Revolution demanded in the 19th century. Industrialisation simultaneously transformed both the need for education and offered a model for providing it, prompting the introduction of universal state schools on a factory model. AI could well do the same.

But surfing the automation wave will likely demand more of humanity: a shakeup of our core beliefs surrounding work and its value may be long overdue. “In our fast-changing world where innovation and adaptation are more and more the critical success factors, another increasingly important measure of the effectiveness of an organisation is not just how productive it is but how intelligent it is”, writes Thomas Malone, director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.
“Intelligent organisations will be better able to adapt rapidly to changes in their environment, better able to innovatively take advantage of new possibilities, better able to be flexible and sense and respond to the world and not just do more efficiently what worked yesterday.”

HR’s shopping list for the automation era

This is a snapshot of what’s to come in the next five years, rather than the long-term (for that, see http://www.futuristspeaker.com/business-trends/55-jobs-of-the-future/):

  1. Machine Learning Specialist: Developing algorithms that can “learn” from or adapt to data and make predictions is a job likely to stay hot for some time. Lots of maths, preferably a PhD, needed.
  2. Interface Designer: Increasingly crucial as systems get smarter, robots become part of our lives and interfaces become more natural, incorporating gesture and speech.
  3. Nano-degree Developer: Traditional apprenticeships typically involve five to seven years of training, which doesn’t make sense if the skills you need are constantly changing. A nano-degree (perhaps in data science or website programming) can be completed in a few months, alongside a job.
  4. Industrial & Organisational Psychologist: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, says this sector, concerned with the study of human behaviour in organisations and the work place, is expected to grow by 53 per cent from 2010 to 2020. In fact, psychologists will be increasingly necessary to help us adapt to automation in every sphere, from trusting a self-driving car to counselling remote military operators.
  5. Neo-generalist: less about “doing all sorts of work”, and more about “connecting everything”. A manager, strategist or system designer.

 


Lumesse Learning grows team in response to continuing success

By Trudi Taylor

Lumesse Learning, the learning division of Lumesse, a global leader in talent solutions, welcomes new hires as part of a strategically significant round of appointments.

Andy Mechelewski, previously at Ashridge Virtual College, takes up the role of Content Partner Manager. Andy will be responsible for the off-the-shelf (OTS) learning portfolio, working with Lumesse’s existing network of global partners as well as acquiring new partners. Andy has a strong pedigree in the OTS space and will help drive growth in OTS in response to the increasing demand for curated learning experiences.

Andy joins recent appointment Jake Maxwell (previously at Brightwave and Learning People), hired as Channel Partner Manager to extend the business unit’s footprint beyond direct sales. Jake is already making great traction with our existing resellers as well as identifying new partners who are excited about the prospect of reselling our Learning Gateway and CourseBuilder products.

Together these two appointments evidence a strategic investment in growth that is building upon recent successes and looking to develop and promote Lumesse Learning’s strong product portfolio.

Andrea Miles, General Manager for Lumesse Learning, said: ‘These are exciting times for us, as we embrace new product developments and expand our reach into the market on a number of different fronts. I am delighted to welcome such professional and passionate individuals to the team to help us fulfill this vision. Ours is a people business, and it’s a tribute to the incredible team already here, and the unique working culture they help us sustain, that we are able to attract such a high calibre of people who will drive our future success.’


Meet your new co-worker: a ‘cobot’

By Adriana Hamacher

Screeching, scary headlines along the lines of “Robots are taking our jobs!” mask a real trend that is emerging: collaborative robots, AKA cobots, which augment, rather than remove, human labour. Compact and highly-flexible, cobots are designed to work safely alongside humans, as opposed to behind a barrier or inside a cage. They are among the fastest growing segments in the robotics market and global sales are expected to reach $3.3 billion in just five years, according to one estimate. So we’ll be seeing a lot more of them very soon.

So what are the implications for the humans who have to learn how to work with these cobots? Continue reading


An aligned content development strategy

By Mark Probert

I am sure this may well ring true for many of you reading as it’s an issue I am seeing with some customers I work with. These customers have all invested heavily in a varied and effective learning catalogue but have done this in quite a detached and unstructured way. This has resulted in the following challenges: Continue reading


Ways you can use xAPI right now to enhance learning

By Sven Ove Sjølyst

In this pre-recorded video Sven Ove Sjolyst, Product Manager for CourseBuilder gives a walk-through of new improvements and features of CourseBuilder, with the spotlight particularly on xAPI implementation.

xAPI adds a whole new dimension when creating learning content, more than was achievable with SCORM; allowing a much richer experience and more micro level view of how users are interacting with content.

This Vlog explains the exciting changes that are now possible.

 


How UX took over the world

By Tony Bartholomew

Don’t we all love Buzzword Bingo?  ‘Learner experience design’ is one of the newer buzzwords in our industry – and ‘Learner Experience Designer’ is the hot new job title. The emergence of these terms marks a subtle but important shift in thinking: from designing chunks of instructional content, to designing an experience for the learner. I’m not at all cynical about this trend. I think it’s a long overdue development for the practice of learning design and for our industry as a whole. But I’m pretty sure I know where it came from. Continue reading


Lumesse Learning named ‘Strategic Challenger’ in Fosway 9-Grid

By Harriet Croxton

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND & HOVE, ENGLAND. 9 February 2017. Lumesse Learning, the learning division of Lumesse, the global leader in talent solutions, has been named a Strategic Challenger in analyst Fosway’s 9-Grid, in the new category of Digital Learning. This showing indicates solid performance and outstanding potential, according to Fosway’s multi-dimensional model. Continue reading


Learning: this time it’s personal

By Carole Bower

In the words of the late David Bowie, “everybody knows me now”.

Websites recognise me. When I go to the coffee shop, the Barista writes my name on the cup. Siri knows where I live (and keeps trying to start a conversation). An app on my phone knows how many steps I have taken today. My watch is keeping an eye on my heart rate. If I wanted to buy a new high-end car, I could customise it down to the last detail before it was even built, and a number stamped into the chassis would identify it as mine. Continue reading


How L&D can help line managers to support learning

By Duncan Barrett

website_blog_300x170While many organisations are looking at how best to support a culture of learning and meet the needs of self-directed learners, many are still dealing with the challenge of engaging employees around content that needs to be delivered and understood by its workforce, whether for compliance or operational reasons.

For L&D teams facing this challenge, the most important ally must surely be the line manager.

We explore these themes in our webinar: Learning in the Line: L&D, line managers & the self-directed learner 

Line managers form a silent (or not so silent) army of support that is ready, willing and able to guide their teams in meeting the challenges of uncertainty and complexity that are sweeping through the world of work as we know it … Well – something along those lines!

In truth, line managers are pulled in multiple directions to meet the needs of the organisation as well as their team.

Continue reading


Lumesse client SABMiller wins top award for blended learning campaign

By John Helmer

Awards logo Personnel Today Overall WinnerOur joy was unconfined this week as one of our clients picked up the ‘prize of prizes’ at this year’s Personal Today Awards for a blended learning programme in which the Lumesse Learning team played a key role, creating bespoke elearning content using our CourseBuilder authoring tool.

At the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane, SABMiller won first the Award for Excellence in Learning and Development, and then was named ‘best of the best’ overall winner.

Lumesse Learning was the lead digital development partner on the winning programme, known as PRGM, an ambitious learning and development initiative that helped to improve profitable growth. PRGM has delivered more than $33 million in incremental profits since it launched.

The brewing company, which produces iconic beer brands and has recently been acquired by AB InBev, beat 900 other submissions and the winners from 20 other categories to receive the coveted Overall Winner Award.

SABMiller and Lumesse people at Personnel Today Awards Ceremony