It’s no secret that companies worldwide are grappling with an acute tech talent gap, in which new job postings far outnumber qualified candidates. In addition to stifling growth and innovation, this shortage of skilled workers is expected to cost organizations $6.5 trillion by 2025, according to the International Data Corporation.
“The skills gap in Canada’s labour force widened considerably during the pandemic as commerce rapidly shifted to the web, and now represents $25 billion in unrealized economic value.”
The situation in Canada isn’t much better. According to the Conference Board of Canada, the skills gap in Canada’s labour force widened considerably during the pandemic as commerce rapidly shifted to the web, and now represents $25 billion in unrealized economic value. A recent report from Statistics Canada revealed that 56.1% of Canadian businesses said their current workforce was not proficient enough to perform jobs at the required level.
The federal government has responded with changes to immigration programs that boost the number of hours international students can work per week, as well as recently proposed policies designed to draw more foreign tech workers to Canada. However, the rise of AI and automation in the workplace is creating a profound shift in the future of the workforce and the skills required.
AI and Automation: A New Frontier for Workers
To fully understand AI and automation’s effect on the skills and tech positions of the future, ServiceNow’s research partner, Pearson, tracked the likely impact of 16 disruptive technologies on more than 6,500 occupations in markets around the world. Pearson’s data scientists then created machine learning models to analyze the more than 30,000 skills and 26,000 tasks required to do these jobs, predicting the effect on each from automation to augmentation, and identifying the easiest migration paths to jobs of the future.
“2.1 million jobs in Canada will be affected by AI and automation within five years. This presents an overwhelming opportunity for reskilling and upskilling workers into more tech-centric roles.”
The results suggest that 2.1 million jobs in Canada will be affected by AI and automation within five years. This presents an overwhelming opportunity for reskilling and upskilling workers into more tech-centric roles.
This is especially true in Canada’s retail industry where the greatest impact of automation is anticipated, with 373,000 jobs slated to be automated by 2027, making up 18% of the total automatable workforce nationally.
This will be offset slightly by 85,000 jobs projected to be created to support the implementation of emerging technologies in the retail sector, including application developers, data analysts, and platform owners, among others. Other industries are also prone to automation, including manufacturing, wholesale trade, financial services, and transportation. These industries are all key to Canada’s economy and illustrative of the need to upskill workers for higher-value work that is not automatable, focusing on the skills that are most in-demand for the newly created job opportunities.
Reskilling for an Automation-Driven Future
Reskilling and upskilling programs offer value to employers in several ways. Not only do they create a wider pool of job candidates, but they allow for the development of candidates with the perfect skill set for the job. Additionally, reskilling programs help to empower employees and enhance engagement, which may help overall retention rates.
“As AI and automation eliminate repetitive tasks, the pendulum will swing toward distinctly human skills of communication, creativity, and analytical thinking.”
As it happens, some of that work is already underway. Programs like RiseUp with ServiceNow are designed to offer training for people with skills at all levels on the ServiceNow Platform. The program offers self-paced courses, real-time training sessions, and career journey mapping for in-demand jobs.
Our data and experience show that as AI and automation eliminate repetitive tasks, the pendulum will swing toward distinctly human skills of communication, creativity, and analytical thinking – the must-have tech skills of tomorrow. Simply put, the more we allow machines to do the kinds of things they’re good at, the less humans will have to behave like machines.
While innovative technologies are often met with trepidation and concerns about job losses, we believe that automation will create new opportunities for scores of people. With the right reskilling, non-tech workers whose jobs are affected by AI can step into the tech roles of the future.
In today’s economic headwinds, organizations around the world are looking for ways to make employees more productive, liberate them from mundane tasks, and allow them to focus on higher-value, human-centric work, fostering creativity and driving professional growth.
When used strategically, AI can also help employees better align their skills, interests, and aspirations. This approach optimizes an organization’s existing technological investments and can result in a highly efficient and impactful employee experience.
“By using AI to augment the role of current employees, and to peer into the future to identify the needs of tomorrow, employers can drive productivity, elevate the employee experience, and future-proof their business.”
In today’s technology-driven world, AI and automation are revolutionizing the way we work and transforming the employee experience. By using AI to augment the role of current employees, and to peer into the future to identify the needs of tomorrow, employers can drive productivity, elevate the employee experience, and future-proof their business for years to come.