Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation can provide companies with alternatives for hiring ‘people’ to do certain tasks in the workplace. This technology can work all the time, it doesn’t ever need a break, and you don’t have to pay it overtime or give it a yearly bonus.
While this may be a positive from a business perspective, it is obvious why this is a worry for those working in roles at risk of displacement.
We’ve already seen the effect AI and automation can have in industries such as manufacturing. But looking further afield, developments in technology means AI is now rivalling other skills and industries. For example, the World Economic Forum recently reported on a study where a group of 20 experienced lawyers tested their skills and knowledge against an AI-powered algorithm. The AI outperformed 20 corporate lawyers at legal work.
Rapid transformation or a more gradual infiltration?
Although AI and automation has the potential to affect most sectors in some way, not every job is at equal risk. It can be more productive than human workers for repetitive tasks, but humans will always outperform machines in jobs requiring relationship-building and imagination.
The forecast of timeframes and the percentage of job displacement because of AI and automation varies across numerous reports on the subject matter. Will it be quite a rapid transformation, or will we see a more gradual infiltration? According to one report published by New Zealand economics consultancy Infometrics, the estimated percentage of jobs at high-risk due to automation over the next five years in Waikato is 10.1%, rising to 31.7% by 2036.
While those companies that invest early-on will no doubt benefit from operational efficiency and competitive advantage – the increased use of AI and automation creates a different demand in the marketplace for people who are educated-in and have the skills and knowledge to implement and manage the way we work. In a world where children are now surrounded by technology, it’s becoming second nature to them. This new wave of tech-savvy individuals are already infiltrating the workplace and it’ll be interesting to see the continued effect this has in the future.
Industrial employment in Waikato
Manufacturing is a core focus in the Waikato Regional Economic Development Programme for 2018-2022. While AI and automation is not going anywhere, development of the industrial sector here in Waikato is increasing, and there’ll continue to be a demand for reliable individuals with manufacturing and processing experience for some time yet.
For this reason, Asset Recruitment has a dedicated industrial recruitment function that is focused solely on placing candidates in temporary industrial roles – such as machine operators to warehouse distributors, factory supervisors to gardeners. As an industrial recruitment specialist, I keep a close eye on market changes and monitor how we’re able to meet the demand and find the right solution for businesses by providing experienced candidates for temporary industrial placement throughout Waikato.
But there is no doubt that we will see change in the future as industry and technology develops here in Waikato and across the world. The team here at Asset Recruitment will continue to stay on top of local trends and developments, and move with the demands of the market whilst ensuring we’re able to provide our clients with the best recruitment solutions.