Our report, Easing the pressure points: The state of intelligent automation found that for business executives dealing with the potentially tumultuous impact of intelligent automation on their workforces, addressing its impact is a long-term proposition.

Intelligent automation’s impact on jobs, both in terms of partial or full elimination of work roles or, on the flip side, empowering workers with new skills and insights, is already a reality in the market. Research results find optimism about the impact IA will have on jobs — for example, approximately one-half of respondents surveyed say automation will impact fewer than 20 percent of their staff while the other half peg the impact as affecting more than 20 percent. But we feel these numbers are overly optimistic. The reality is IA will eliminate white collar jobs. Organizations need to proactively address this reality.

The bigger question is how leaders are handling job displacement. Retraining tops layoffs by a wide margin. This survey also found that only 14 percent anticipate letting workers go. What took precedence is retraining to deal with data (22 percent), to get into machine learning (21 percent), to work on new business needs (36 percent) and to specialize in an industry or domain (12 percent). The key challenge for organizations is how to actually conduct this retraining as well as determine which workers are best suited for this investment.

This retraining issue needs to be addressed by organizations’ human resources departments. But what’s also required is that business and executive management work with HR to define the collective workforce of the future and direct retraining and
reskilling efforts toward that future.

Proportion of workforce impacted by IA - Info-graphic

Explore more at State of IA or download the PDF report to read more- Easing the pressure points (PDF 2.2 MB).

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