How will AI change the entry level workers I need?

How will AI change the entry level workers I need?

By Guest writer on 7 August 2018 With artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics replacing many of the repetitive tasks that have been a rite of passage for entry level employees, HR professionals need to reassess the basic skills needed for their workplace.

“We are at risk of creating a lost generation right now,” says David Guazzarotto, CEO of Future Knowledge, a firm which specialises in helping businesses re-imagine the workforce in an age of digital disruption.
 
“The youngest of my kids will do their HSC in 2029, and will come into a workforce that will be markedly changed from what it is today,” he says. “The question in my mind is, are we actually supporting them? Is the education system moving fast enough to enable the skills sets that are going to be required for the new types of work in the future?”
 
Although Guazzarotto doesn’t view the age of AI and robotics as something to fear, but rather an opportunity to adapt, he cautions that the rapid uptake of new technology may also come at a cost to entry-level jobs, which could have a negative flow-on effect on society if it’s not managed.
 
“This is where the role of HR managers is going to be essential,” says Jim Wilson, managing editor of WorkplaceInfo. com.au, which surveyed HR professionals for its Future of Work: AI, robotics and workforce planning report.
 
The survey found that while HR professionals expect that administration and manufacturing roles will be affected, many didn’t realise jobs in knowledge-based industries such as law and journalism are in trouble too, and it is entry-level roles that are most at risk.
 
“There are media companies out there producing sports reports, earthquake reports and financial reports, with no journalists involved,” says Wilson. “The data is put straight into the computer and the computer writes the story. Legal firm JP Morgan is getting AI to check contracts; where before teams of paralegals would take weeks, these systems can do it in minutes.
 
“Essentially this new technology is reducing the scope for young people to learn and upskill on the job. The question is how will young lawyers be trained when the grunt work is being done by computers?”

Independent HR consultant Mary Sue Rogers believes that HR departments will need to redefine entry-level positions as technology removes the need for many traditional tasks.

“HR professionals need to look at what is an entry-level position,” she says. “Is an entry-level position for an aspiring CPA, for example, to come in and do ‘tick and bash’, or, if that is no longer an entry level job because it has been automated, what are the new base skills of that profession?

“HR needs to go back and redefine the skills and competencies that are entry-level.”

The good news is that history has shown that every time a shift in progress has occurred technologically it has pushed the value of the worker higher.

“The fact that we’re going to lose a whole bunch of kitchen hands is actually a good thing,” adds Guazzarotto. “It’ll put a higher purpose on customer service, where the human interaction layer is actually going to add value to that experience.”

This article was first published by the NSW Business Chamber.
 

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