The impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on jobs
If you think that the world has changed a lot in the last 20 years, you will be amazed about the changes which will happen in the next 20 years. The impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on jobs and how we live will be bigger than we can currently imagine.
The first industrial revolution started around 1784 where mechanization, steam power and the weaving loom where invented. Then, in 1870, electricity, the assembly line and mass production impacted the way we work and live. By 1969, automation, computers and electronics entered our lives and today, cyber physical systems, artificial intelligence, internet of things and networks are changing our world. The impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on jobs and live has already started.
The impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on Jobs is different than the revolutions in the past
Although it is not the first time, the world goes through massive disruption, this revolution, however, is different. The 4th Industrial Revolution is different because:
- for the first time the revolution leaves the factory door and goes into every single job
- it is faster than ever before; an inter-generational change happens at a pace we have never seen.
In the past, changes in the work space happened in generations. The son was having a different job, than the father. This revolution requires us to re-invent ourselves and our jobs within our own life span. Think about Uber, maybe you start working as an Uber driver today. By 2021, Uber plans to have implemented 24,000 self-driving cars. This trend does not stop at Uber drivers alone. In general, the profession of a taxi driver, truck driver, chauffeur or similar will be replaced rather sooner than later by self-driving concepts. The general idea is that it only becomes a commercial business when you can remove the vehicle operator from the equation.
These changes of professions happened in the past, jobs like the milkman, elevator operator, or linotype operator do not exist anymore today. Nevertheless, as well here, the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on Jobs is different than the revolutions in the past. If in the past, you where on the wrong side of history, in the worst case, you ended up as a manual labor being exploited. Today, if you are left behind, you are facing something far worse: you will be completely irrelevant.
The pace of progress of disruptive technology is much faster than the pace our mind shifts.
Key factors for jobs in the future
The impact of the 4th Industrial Revolutions on jobs will require a number of elements from the way we work:
Learning – Already today, learning should never stop again. Everyday of your life will require you to keep on learning. You must be prepared to acquire complete new skill sets when you are in your 50th. Till today, it was enough to have some kind of idea about new technologies. Tomorrow, this is not enough anymore. Companies will focus much more on the learning and growing aspects of there employees. A side question here is, whether we can actually still talk about companies and employees. The trend of virtual companies, digital nomads and similar will create forms of cooperation which do not yet exist. Individuals coming together and creating value temporary without getting in a fixed structure of a company.
Creativity – Almost every job or task which relates to following a procedure or providing service, will be replaced by technology. Humans will mainly be doing “brain jobs”. Jobs which require a high level of creativity. Creativity can be supported by lifelong learning and inspiration. Inspiration is created when observing, talking and exchanging experiences with other people, cultures, places.
Efficiency – Efficiency is linked to speed. A company’s competitiveness will depend mainly on its ability to learn ever faster and effectively turn that learning into action. Unfortunately, today only few companies are prepared for speedy learning.
The impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution on jobs and how we live has been unseen before. Most companies today, are not prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. Many are lacking the right workforce composition and skills in addition to technology. Current technology investments are strongly driven by technologies that can support new business models which will have great impacts on organizations in the next 5 years.