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May 5 2017

Tech Bosses: Expect Significant Automation of Jobs by 2022

by Patrice L. Onwuka

The world of automation and artificial intelligence replacing jobs may be coming a bit sooner than we’ve been expecting. A new poll of the technology executives finds that more than half see most or some jobs being automated within the next five years.

Our focus to-date has been on how wonderful new developments in technology will affect truck driving, car driving, delivery services, dining, and fast food. However, automation may be coming to other industries at a faster pace.

The Consumer Technology Association published the findings of recent polling of 314 executives about automation. Approximately half (52 percent) say most or some job functions will be automated by 2022. Another 29 percent say very few job functions will be automated and another 17 percent don’t think anything will automated.

Contracting or part-time work are increasingly becoming the norm in our labor force and these executives recognize it. Two out of three (64 percent) employ workers on a contract basis. The majority (56 percent) don’t think contract work will displace fulltime jobs in the near future, although one in five (21 percent) believe government policies could have an impact on that. Nonetheless, one out of five tech companies surveyed don’t believe that their full-time workforce will decrease over the next five years.

The executives also express concern that they do have jobs available but can’t find workers with the right skills to fill those jobs. A significant majority (86 percent) say they will need more employees with technical skills and 70 percent plan to hire more employees in the next five years. Yet, almost three out of four (74 percent) say it’s difficult to fine candidates with the right skills and abilities for their jobs. Nearly half (44 percent) say it will only get harder to find the right candidates over the next five years.

What we can take away from this is that technology is bringing huge opportunity and challenge to the American labor force. As today’s jobs report will remind us, Americans continue to drop out of the workforce unable to find jobs, yet jobs exist and entirely new categories will be created even as automation replaces some workers.

The challenge is for education and public policy to work with the private sector to figure out how today’s workers and tomorrow’s workers can be ready with the skills they need to find gainful work.

Creative destruction is the idea that one development replaces another, but delivers something better. The assembly line revolutionized manufacturing and this generation is in the early phases of a new revolution. The question is how do we adapt to the coming changes?

We should avoid short-term, narrow-sighted policies such as arbitrary minimum wage hikes and workplace salary mandates, though They only speed the decision to introduce automation.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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