While RPA providers have downplayed the effect automation will have on job displacement, it remains a concern for employees at companies that are considering RPA implementations. And, a new study from IBM is not doing much to allay those fears. According to the research, automation is creating a skills gap that is becoming more difficult to close—120 million workers in the world’s 12 largest economies will need retraining over the next three years because of technology automating their jobs. In the current economic situation, many companies are having difficulty filling open jobs. So, being able to train current employees whose jobs were automated to fill some of those positions would be advantageous. The report’s authors, however, found that training workers to perform work that they can’t automate now takes enterprises 36 days, compared to three days in 2014.
Companies considering automation projects must consider the time and expense it will take to retrain workers who are displaced when some or all of their responsibilities are performed by RPA robots.
“Organizations are facing mounting concerns over the widening skills gap and tightened labor markets with the potential to impact their futures as well as worldwide economies,” said Amy Wright, managing partner of IBM Talent & Transformation at IBM. “Yet while executives recognize severity of the problem, half of those surveyed admit that they do not have any skills development strategies in place to address their largest gaps. And the tactics the study found were most likely to close the skills gap the fastest are the tactics companies are using the least. New strategies are emerging to help companies reskill their people and build the culture of continuous learning required to succeed in the era of AI.”