Automation, the road ahead and responsible governance…

This week saw some interesting news on trends and forecast of changes happening due to automation in our workplaces. There were three articles in particular that got me thinking on what potentially lies ahead. Broadly, this is what the articles said:

1. Indian IT industry is finally breaking the linearity between revenue and     headcount, with efficiency doubling over the last five years.

  • As per NASSCOM, the industry is estimated to have required 16,055 engineers to generate every additional $1 billion of export revenue in 2015-16, compared with 31,846 engineers in 2009-10.

2. There will be no increase in entry level compensation for college graduates (freshers).

  • Every year, only one in five engineering graduate from colleges across the country will get a job. As per NASSCOM again, India produces over one million engineering graduates every year. As of now, the number of jobs available in the IT industry is around 200,000-300,000.

3. The World Economic Forum 2016 at Davos stated that the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is underway which will eliminate millions of jobs over the next 10 years.

  • This covers farmers, factory workers, news reports, teachers, accountants, lawyers etc.

Points 1 and 2 are specific to the Indian IT industry, point 3 is global and across industries.

Undoubtedly, this gives rise to multiple opportunities but, we do need to be aware of the changes automation will drive and our readiness as organizations and individuals to manage them. Two things that instantly come to my mind as we move ahead:

Skill and Re-skill:

If the linearity is breaking and jobs are reducing, it is a great time for us to skill or re-skill ourselves to be prepared for the new world. It gives us all the chance to do things and venture into spaces we probably have never thought of.

Responsible governance:

Organizations are maintaining that automation is not about replacing people but enabling them to do better, creating more ideas and driving higher value. Though true in philosophy, managing this change will need organizations and leaders to adapt and drive things responsibly.

Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, in his book – The Fourth Industrial Revolution, says, “together shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.”

We definitely need to keep the technology advancements for improving efficiency, productivity and cost factors going. However, as individuals, leaders and organizations, let us try and not forget the ‘human’ side of things as we move into a new way of working.

We need the change, yes… Let us make it happen responsibly…