87% of companies will add workers this year, despite rise of robots

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More employers than ever before (87%) will either increase or maintain their workforce numbers this year because of automation, according to a ManpowerGroup report released on Friday. The report surveyed 19,000 employers across 44 countries, assessing the effects of automation on job growth in the next couple years.

Robots replacing human jobs remains a top concern in the workforce, as automated systems are able to complete manual tasks at a much faster rate than humans. Instead of eliminating or reducing employment opportunities, robots will actually cause organizations to create new jobs, the report found. Other research has come to the same conclusion: Only 8% of 100 business executives from Global 2000 organizations confirmed their companies were cutting jobs after integrating new technology, according to a recent Dun & Bradstreet report.

SEE: Digital transformation: A guide for CXOs (Tech Pro Research)

Organizations integrating the most automation are also actually creating the most jobs, the report found. Of the 41% of companies planning to automate tasks in the next two years, 24% said they will create more jobs, which is 6% more than companies that aren’t automating. The business growth brought to companies by automation results in a demand for more talent to handle such growth, the report added.

“The focus on robots eliminating jobs is distracting us from the real issue. More and more robots are being added to the workforce, but humans are too,” Jonas Prising, chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, said in the report. “For three consecutive years our research shows most employers plan to increase or maintain headcount as a result of automation. Tech is here to stay, and it’s our responsibility as leaders to work out how we integrate humans with machines.”

While robots improve efficiency and reliability, some 38% of organizations said it’s difficult to train them on in-demand technical skills, which is where humans are needed, according to the report. Additionally, 43% of organizations said it’s even more difficult to rely on robots for soft skills, such as analytical thinking and communication. Candidates looking to become more marketable and valuable should hone in on improving their creativity, cognitive skills, and ability to process high-level information, the report said.

For more tips on how to improve your soft skills, check out this TechRepublic e-book.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • 87% of organizations will increase or maintain headcount in their workforce this year. — ManpowerGroup, 2019
  • 38% of organizations said it’s difficult to train robots on in-demand technical skills, instead relying on humans for that adaptability. — ManpowerGroup, 2019

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Image: iStockphoto/JIRAROJ PRADITCHAROENKUL

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