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Is automation affecting employment in the UK?

Aug 24, 2023 | News

As a talent and recruitment business, we have witnessed the steady, yet transformative, tide of automation across various sectors in the UK. The conversation surrounding the impact of automation on employment is often dominated by apprehension.

As a talent and recruitment business, we have witnessed the steady, yet transformative, tide of automation across various sectors in the UK. The conversation surrounding the impact of automation on employment is often dominated by apprehension.

However, when viewed through a progressive lens, automation presents an opportunity to create more fulfilling jobs and nurture a resilient workforce. Before delving in, let’s remember that automation is not a new concept.

It’s been an ongoing process that has been changing the landscape of work for centuries, from the introduction of assembly lines in manufacturing to the advent of computers. Each wave of automation has phased out certain tasks, but in return, has led to the creation of new roles and sectors.

Contrary to the narrative that automation will replace humans in the workforce, it’s critical to emphasise that automation is likely to redefine roles, not eliminate them outright.

Traditional job titles such as administrator might seem under threat, but in reality, these roles are evolving. The routine tasks traditionally associated with an administrator, such as data entry or appointment scheduling, can be automated, freeing up administrators to engage in higher-value tasks.

As a result, we’re seeing the emergence of new job titles like operations coordinator or business support specialist, roles that involve managing the interface between automation software and business needs.

These professionals utilise automation tools to streamline processes, while also applying their unique human skills like strategic planning, problem-solving and relationship building.

Automation excels at tasks that are repetitive, data-heavy and algorithm-driven. But work is more than just a series of tasks. It’s about human connection, emotional intelligence, creativity and adaptability – the very aspects that automation can’t replicate.

Careers built on these inherently human traits, such as HR professionals, mental health counsellors, content creators and many others, will continue to thrive in the era of automation. Even in sectors where automation has been highly adopted, like manufacturing or logistics, the human touch remains indispensable.

Skilled technicians, quality assurance analysts and logistics coordinators are needed to oversee automated processes, address complex challenges and ensure seamless operations. One of the most noticeable impacts of automation is the growing demand for tech-intensive roles.

Job titles like AI specialist, data analyst, robotics engineer and user experience designer were relatively rare a decade ago.

Today, they’re among the fastest-growing occupations, reflecting the shift toward a more tech-oriented economy. As the nature of work transforms, lifelong learning has become an essential part of career progression.

Companies, educational institutions and individuals need to embrace upskilling, not as a one-time solution but as a continuous process.

For instance, an administrative professional today can be upskilled by gaining proficiency in data analytics or project management, which can open doors to other roles.

After all, a skilled and driven workforce is better for your business, which is why at Talentheads, we work directly with you to source and recruit these people into your business.

We’re not a numbers or target-driven company – for us, it is about finding the right candidate for the right role at the right time for your business.

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