It seems that Australian workers have concerns about technology taking over, with a quarter of them expecting their jobs to disappear due to technological advancements, according to the Randstad Workmonitor survey.
Randstad employment analyst Steve Shepherd said that there were question marks around whether jobs would disappear completely because of technology or whether advancements would allow the job to be done elsewhere just as easily, but with cheaper labour.
“Telstra has announced that they'll send another 600 or so jobs offshore and I think technology enables those kinds of behaviours as well.
“It's also interesting as to whether jobs will disappear or whether they just won't exist in their current format. For example, I don't think the role of farmers will disappear because all of a sudden, machinery and technology takes over. What you see is fewer of them so technology definitely enables you to do more with less, but also I think it then evolves into different skill sets required to do that job.
“The farmer is not relying on manual labour and becomes more of a scientist and a technology expert in order to enable the technology that is being used more and more within that industry. I think it's more about evolving skill sets,” said Shepherd.
While some roles may no longer exist, the technology required to make them obsolete also created new jobs – some of which impacted on the HR profession, he said.
“Everywhere in HR they're talking about data analytics and how you use technology to do things faster and extract more information. HR has traditionally been about the human and social skills and I think you'll see an increase in the analytical side, which is a completely different fish in the pond. The person who enjoys doing that kind of work is probably not the same person who enjoys the social interaction side of what HR has traditionally been.”
However, the “human” part of HR won’t be replaced by technology, according to Shepherd.
“When we're employing people, we're still human beings and that means we want social interaction. Our core is built on being able to interact with people so there will still be this fundamental need to talk to people. There are all these tools that help you screen resumes and all that sort of stuff but at the end of the day, you still want to talk to people and get advice and know what the company is like to work for. You make a decision about who you're going to work with, based on emotion. Technology doesn't allow for that emotional part. We deal based on emotion and human connection.”
How do you think the rise of technology is affecting your workforce?
If Hollywood blockbusters are to be believed, HR may be employing robots instead of people for future jobs.