There has been a great deal of debate about the ongoing impact of digital technology on the future of work. The refinement of existing and the development of new technologies is an inevitable process.
Of the existing technologies, business process automation (BPA) is responsible for much of the efficiency gains that we have seen over the last two decades. In the recruitment industry, core business and back office tasks, such as searching through CVs for keywords like qualifications using an ATS, and matching invoices to purchase orders with an accounting system, are both built on a system of rules.
When data meets a rule, a specific action is performed by the software, and when it doesn’t, a different action is completed. For adopters of this type of technology, BPA has eliminated an awful lot of boring, repetitive manual tasks.
Beyond process automation, Machine Learning (ML) is also making an impact. Many technologies are wrongly called Artificial Intelligence (AI) when they are in fact ML.
ML is one of the outputs from the Big Data field of the IT industry. Large amounts of data are analysed by computers to detect patterns. These patterns can be mathematically described, creating an algorithm.
So, when a CV is analysed for the presence of multiple keywords or terms, a prediction can be made as to the suitability of the candidate. Over time, as the software analyses more CVs, the algorithm becomes more refined, enabling predictions to be made with increasing certainty. It is this ability to get better, or ‘learn’ that leads to ML being mislabelled as AI.
The debate about predictions for the future of work resulting from increasing use of BPA and ML based software tools has been controversial, to say the least. In 2015, data from CEDA (the Committee of Economic Development of Australia), warned that computerisation and automation could see more than 6 out of 10 jobs in rural and regional Australia vanish.
This suggested a loss of jobs of around 5 million, fuelling the perception that technology is destroying jobs and livelihoods and the chance for many to be prosperous. More recent research released by Amazon Web Services (AWS), the data centre computing division of Jeff Bezos’ tech giant, provides better context and a much more positive interpretation. This research suggested Australia needs 6.5 million extra digital workers by 2025.
The takeaway for recruiters, employers and governments across the globe is that there is a massive need to reskill workers whose jobs are likely to be impacted. For the coming generation of people emerging from the education system, it is also a necessity to prepare them appropriately with either specific technology skills, or to ensure that they are as technologically conversant as possible, enabling future reskilling to be as easy as possible.
Recruitment businesses, employers and governments are three key stakeholders and they need to work together more closely to close this yawning skills gap. Governments need to provide a lead and funding. However, politicians seldom act unless they are pushed. One idea is for the recruitment industry to take the initiative and lead through activities such as collaborating with employers to set up pilot reskilling projects, and lobbying governments for funding and policy change.
Obviously, 2025 is a big milestone on the road map to the future. It marks the passing of one quarter of the 21st century. There are big changes coming and the wheels are already in motion. This is going to drastically alter the job market.
There may well be a need for new tech workers in their millions. However, there is a need to accelerate the training, search and selection of many others where tech is not the primary function. For examples, look no further than the millions of new jobs related to decarbonising the global economy and society are going to be created, as are new roles dedicated to planning and dealing with the devastating impacts of climate change.
The use of technology to accelerate search and selection is covered in more detail in our new white paper, The Future of Recruitment. The paper discusses a range of topics that helps owners of recruitment businesses and agency principals to get a handle on how RecTech is likely to evolve towards 2025.
ETZ has a track record of delivering results, ROI and solid advice on RecTech and complementary technologies. ETZ’s core RecTech features, include timesheet processing and invoice creation, as well as integrating accounting platforms like Xero. To find out more about how we simplify the complexity of RecTech for agencies like yours book a demo.
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