Even as the debate on whether new-age technologies like automation will trigger job losses or create new roles goes on, a study by AIMA-PwC shows that industries like education, marketing and even agriculture are perceived as likely re-entry points for workforce if one’s current job gets automated. The study, titled ‘How AI is reshaping jobs in India’, said employees across sectors have started recognising the need for upgrading skills in emerging areas like artificial intelligence, robotics, Big Data and machine learning over the next five years to support the current roles and responsibilities in their respective industries.
In order to enhance their preparedness for the automation era, 60 per cent of the respondents said they were willing to upgrade their skills via training programmes/initiatives organised by employers. Interestingly, the results also indicate that people believe that education and teaching (30 per cent), followed by marketing, management and business services (28 per cent) offer “the most realistic opportunities for them to re-enter the workforce if their current job undergoes automation”.
About 16 per cent said they perceived manufacturing as a likely re-entry point, while 14 per cent pointed to agriculture, forestry and fishing.
“This indicates that in a post-automation workforce, roles that require accumulated knowledge, expertise and people-centric qualities such as persuasiveness and empathy might stand out as differentiating factors to ensure employability,” the report said. The report pointed out that as AI continues to evolve, the threat of job loss also arises but these displacements will be accompanied by the creation of new job profiles that require great human involvement and critical thinking.
Therefore, AI provides an opportunity to reshape the workforce, and collaborative efforts between the government, academia and private sector should be encouraged. The report acknowledged that there is a huge unmet demand for skilled professionals in the field of AI and machine learning and that catching up in this race would require a two-pronged approach — upskilling existing employees as well as attracting AI experts.
While it is primarily the responsibility of individuals to keep themselves updated and relevant to the job by investing time in acquiring new skills and capabilities, educational bodies also need to migrate the traditional curriculum to incorporate course work that is in sync with new age technology and emerging industry demands.
Also, with the increasing percolation of AI within companies and adoption of new technologies, on-the-job training for employees would become more vital to transition people into new rolls, the report said.