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The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Future of Work and Training

According to the World Economic Forum, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is well underway with the exponential growth of new technology effecting all sectors, governments, and societies.

 

This technology has allowed progress in areas such as, AI which is now automating tasks once completed by humans, and speeding up worldwide connections.

However, with these advances comes changes to society and the workplace.

Our working day is already beginning to show signs of transformation; with flexible working patterns, e-learning, document storage, and online payments becoming the norm in most sectors.

There have even been certain roles that have disappeared, while new job titles have been created. The increase of online flight and holiday searches is taking its toll on high street travel agents, and switchboard operators have become obsolete with interactive AI voice technology, while new roles in internet technology such as, social media marketers and data scientists have bloomed.

Our workplaces are already changing, and we must be aware of the potential impact it might have staff, training, roles, and working environments. This blog aims to highlight some of these issues and consider the benefits and influence the Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring to our workplaces.

 

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

The term was first coined by Professor Klaus Schwab, in 2015, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, and relates to the exponential technological advances we are experiencing and how that will alter the way people think, learn, process information, and relate to their environments.

It involves the implementation of cyber systems such as, the Internet of Things (IoT), which is rapidly changing the interconnectedness of smart devices, allowing a level of connection around the world with a speed that has previously been unknown, and an automation that does not rely on humans.

For more information about what exactly 4IR involves you can check out our previous blog here.

 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Future of Work

There are four primary factors driving the 4IR; high-speed mobile internet (5G), automation and AI, cloud technology, and data analytics.  The most significant of these on the workforce are AI and automation.

According to a recent study by McKinsey Global Institute only about 6 percent of companies foresee an overall decline in the size of their European and US workforces, and that by 2030 robots are likely to replace 800 million workers in manual, administration, and unskilled roles.

The study also showed however, that although these roles would be replaced by automation they would, in turn, create more jobs in areas such as, management, IT, customer interaction, sales reps, programming, and professional roles.

Workplaces will need to adapt to changes created by advances in technology through retraining, restructure, and adjustment of roles and employees. Business processes will be aligned once a focus on training for new skills is in place and employees are equipped to handle new, interchangeable roles.

 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Training

One vital element for future success within the 4IR is likely to be a company’s ability to ensure its staff have access to continuous, adaptable learning. This includes redesigning corporate structures, adjusting business process, and focusing on building a workforce with new, adaptable talents.

The essential skill sets required by firms will change quickly, and will need to form more agile ways of working, meaning that skills such as, cultural awareness, collaboration, empathy, creativity, and interpersonal talents will be in more demand across the board.

There will be a shift towards cross-functional, team building work, with an emphasis on flexibility.  Traditional corporate hierarchies may become a thing of the past with agile organisations designed for stability and momentum.

 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution and Work Patterns

With these advances in technology will come a change in work patterns, workforce composition, and structure.

It is probable that more work will be done by freelancers, temporary employees and contractors, with an emphasis on ‘sharing’ work through systems such as, Blockchain.

New digital tools should facilitate easier talent sourcing and recruitment, while training will become more important for companies who want to retain staff and wish to promote advanced literary skills, problem solving, and critical thinking.

Flexibility will also be demanded by employees. Remote working, freedom from commuting, and working from anywhere in the world will give rise to a global workforce which will be of huge benefit to industry.

 

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will bring significant change to working practices and training.

A well-trained workforce, who are equipped to cope with the changes that automation and AI technologies will bring, is vital to ensure our economies, businesses, and societies are well placed for growth and development.

Failure to adequately address the skills gap in a shifting workforce will lead to tensions that could easily be avoided.

If you are looking to re-train, up-skill, or educate your staff, and want to equip your employees with the necessary skills to cope with 4IR, then Creative Word training can help.

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