Technology has been disrupting the workforce for years and the effects of the recent pandemic have only exacerbated this. Everyone assumes the changes are negative and believe that robots are going to put every human worker out of work within the next decade. The truth, however, is that technology will have more positive than negative effects on the world of work.
A concept known as creative-destruction occurs whenever technology advances enough. Put simply, new jobs emerge to replace the old within disrupted industries. When the combustion engine was invented, automobile manufacturing exploded and helped to create the oil and tourism industries among others. Regardless of the effects on existing jobs, there will always be opportunities for human workers. That said, it is worth looking at what some of those effects may be.
One of the more prominent changes technology has had on industries around the world is the widespread increase in Internet use and the abundance of data. A digital commerce report found that $607.75 billion was spent online in 2019 with US merchants alone. Put that on a global scale and it’s easy to see how technology has enabled industries to expand their consumer base.
A side-effect of the increase in data is the servers that all this information is stored on. Millions of credit and debit cards are inputted online and sensitive information is floating all around the Internet. Companies who aren’t even in the tech-space are being forced to hire tech-workers to maintain the servers and protect their data.
One of the fastest-growing fields in that regard is cybersecurity. Experts in this field specialize in malware analysis and ethical hacking, among other skills, and focus on protecting the software and data that companies collect. As data continues to grow in importance and size, more professionals with tech-skills are going to be hired.
Even before the onset of Covid-19, remote work was seeing an upward trend. There are entire startups that function completely remotely where their teams have never met each other, but they are able to conduct meetings and business processes using computers.
This has enabled people from all over the world to be hired at companies and also opened potential hiring options for companies. There’s no point limiting your hiring options to one city when you can hire a capable web developer who is thousands of miles away but can still do the job.
A similar area to remote work that technology has had an effect on is remote learning. In today’s day and age, it is no longer necessary to fly across the country to receive an education at a prestigious Ivy League school. Top-rated trade schools that offer specialized courses that prepare students for specific fields have been popping up all over the country and offer online tuition as well as deferred tuition payments. Technology is changing both work and education by allowing remote access to everything.
Machine learning has allowed technology to become more efficient and more accurate than humans at a large number of tasks. Fields such as accounting that used to require a large amount of human input are being streamlined by technology. As mentioned earlier, however, accounting jobs are not going to disappear. They will just morph into something new.
As robotics advances and takes over tasks that can be automated, humans are going to be freed up to work on more valuable tasks that a robot can’t work on. For example, a field that has emerged partly due to this automation is data science. Becoming a data scientist requires analytical skills and an understanding of machine learning. A computer can collect data, but making business decisions on that data rests on the shoulders of a human data scientist.
The world is not going to be taken over by robots. Jobs will disappear as a result of advancing technology, surely, but newer jobs will emerge to replace them. The skills required by employees may change, but technology has made alternative trade schools and educational bootcamps available to anyone willing to learn. Work is going to change drastically and all anyone can do is try to predict how industries will be disrupted.