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Automation in the workplace - friend or foe?

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Fifty-six per cent of New Zealanders ‘definitely’ think their job will be impacted by artificial intelligence (AI) and automation in the next 10 years, according to recruiting experts Hays.

In the online poll of 497 people, a further 24 per cent said that ‘maybe’ their job will be impacted. The final 20 per cent do not believe their job will be impacted at all.

So is AI and automation your friend or foe? The answer, says Hays, depends on your willingness to adapt your skills.

"Rather than destroy jobs, automation and artificial intelligence can be expected to instead change roles, allowing workers to focus on other key areas of their work," says Jason Walker, Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand.

"Automation and AI will replace or take over the more repetitive and manual aspects of a job, leaving people free to focus on more advanced job responsibilities."

Of course this makes continuous up-skilling key to remaining relevant in the job market of the future. But Jason warns that it’s not only technical or hard skills you’ll need to focus on.

"When we look at the skills automation is taking over, they are usually hard or technical skills. Soft skills are a lot more difficult to automate or outsource," he says.

"There are also many human skills that robots simply cannot learn. For instance, a robot will never be an innovative and collaborative problem solver that can come up with and share creative ideas. Empathy and human instinct are crucial to a lot of roles too, and again these are not programmable; you cannot automate human emotion."

The poll was conducted on between June and August 2016.

Hays is the most followed recruitment agency on LinkedIn in the world. Join Hays’ growing network by following Hays Worldwide. You can also get expert advice, insights and the latest recruitment news by following Hays on Twitter @HaysNewZealand.

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