Andy Haldane the Chief Economist at the Bank of England has said that he thinks up to 15 million jobs in the UK could be replaced by automation: “Technology appears to be resulting in faster, wider and deeper degrees of hollowing-out than in the past.” The question that brings to mind is what the net impact is? Are you a glass half full person or half empty? In 5 years time my expectation is that there will be jobs that today we cannot even imagine. As certain tasks become automated then so new "things" will need to get done. Jobs that today that we see as highly skilled will become the mundane and less specialist.
We can be certain that the employment world will change, jobs will be lost but lets also look at the positive that in this rapidly evolving society that new will replace old. In the same way that we adapted through the industrial revolution all those years ago we will do the same again.
Technology does not simply replace work. It can also create opportunity for new types of work. The Bank of England governor Mark Carney said, “every technological revolution mercilessly destroys both jobs and livelihoods… well before the new ones emerge.”. The question is, what are these new jobs? Certainly there has already been a significant increase in “digital jobs” – jobs requiring high social skills, high cognitive skills, or a mixture of both – that exploit the output of new technologies rather than working within those technologies. Look at areas such as app developers, data miners and digital marketing specialists for an idea of what these jobs could be. Yet it is important to realise that whilst the percentage increase in these types of jobs has been significant and will undoubtedly continue, in terms of total employment, the numbers aren’t huge.