Future of work

I had the pleasure of hearing @JonLewis (CEO, Capita) share his thoughts on the future of work at the recent Capita sponsored TED event in London.

We were there to consider the impact of AI and RPA (robotic process automation) on job design. Many of us are already seeing the re-shaping of roles and the re-allocation of staff away from repetitive paper shuffling to value added tasks. But we have to consider the impact as this activity ramps up and we start to see an excess of staff. This reduction in total headcount has started in some of the larger organisations but it is going to be the norm for all organisations in the next few years.

Jon said that he was an optimist, believing that the human race will adapt to this new industrial revolution. I agree but I am cautious because the speed of this impact is so much faster than past seismic economic shocks. And those of us who work in change management are very aware of how long it takes us to adapt to new beliefs, new priorities and new ways of working.

My optimism is also tempered by a concern that in order to re-skill for a future we don’t yet understand, we have to win the argument in hearts and minds that re-skilling is needed. This is where I think we are falling behind.

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