'Learnability' crucial in preventing robots from taking your job

A new report shows what employers think of the skills revolution coming down the tracks...

'Learnability' crucial in preventing robots from taking your job

Android ''HRP-4,'' created to be a future component of the labour force, is unveiled in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, in 2010. Picture by AP/Press Association Images

If you've been worrying that some AI worker is going to come along and take your job in the coming decades, there is some heartening news contained within a fresh report from ManpowerGroup.

The Skills Revolution survey of 18,000 employers across all sectors in 43 countries arrived today to tie in with the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

It found that your boss probably doesn't expect to replace you with robots anytime soon. 

Some 64% of employers don't believe that digitisation would affect the size of its human workforce.

In fact, if you're willing to specialise, "technological disruption" should only serve to present you with additional opportunities.

One if five employers (19%) expect new jobs to be created, compared to just 12% who foresee a reduction in headcount. In the short-term, 83% of employers expect to maintain or increase their numbers in the next two years.

However, the life cycle of skills will be shorter than ever and the change is happening at an "unprecedented scale", the report found.

So how can you best prepare for the upcoming changes?

ManpowerGroup chairman and CEO Jonas Prising says that the "great equaliser" will be "learnability" – that is, the desire and ability to pick up new skills to stay relevant.

He explained:

"The rise in populism and the polarisation of the workforce continues to play out in front of our eyes. It's time to take immediate action to upskill and reskill employees to address the gaps between the Haves and the Have Nots – those that have the right skills and those that are at risk of being left behind. We also need to draw in those that are not fully participating in the workforce. That's what we mean by the emergence of a Skills Revolution."

Other key findings include:

  • Employers in Italy, Guatemala and Peru are most optimistic about the impact of robots on jobs. Over a quarter of employers in India expect to reduce headcount; Bulgaria, Slovakia and Slovenia are close behind.
  • People in IT and customer-facing roles should feel optimistic as those employers anticipate greatest increases in headcount.
  • Rapid growth in demand is also expected across almost all industries and geographies for data analysts required to make sense of big data. The headcount in HR is also set to increase in the short-term as they steer companies through this period of adjustment.