Tom, 59, a Banking Call Center Manager, called for a career counseling session in a panic. He just read the Bloomberg article about a Wells Fargo’s research study noting the headline saying that robots to cut 200,000 U.S. bank jobs in the next decade.
Tom was scared that this would affect his career since they were talking about call centers, branches and back offices being the positions that would have most of the cuts.
Tom is smart to be concerned. Wells Fargo reports that the banking industry spends over $150 billion annually on tech, which is more than any other sector. As more and more automation and artificial intelligence get added into the workplace, Tom is not the only person who should panic that his or her job could be in danger.
Your job may not be leaving today, but if you are in the same industry as Tom, don’t ignore the fact that artificial intelligence and technology changes are going to have a dramatic impact on the workplace. The other industries most likely to be hit in include manufacturing and the automotive sectors. Is this a wakeup call for you? The jobs likely to be less affected are in tech, sales, advising and consulting.
John Robertson, America’s Business Futurist, a former CEO and Author of Focus Forward Leadership who specializes in the Artificial Intelligence area, says, “Working level employees will need to upgrade their skills.”
In Tom’s case, as the Call Center manager, his job will change. Robertson says, “This manager is now going to manage both people and robots. The robots have to learn their jobs. Data is constantly updated. The managers must understand the data, and robots have to understand conversations and questions. Even though they are a robot, they are only as smart as they have been programmed. There are always questions from customers where the robots don’t know the answer. So in the future call center, the robots can handle 80% of the issues, but for the remaining 20%, they need to connect to a live person to solve their issues. Therefore, robots and robot-learning have to be continually managed,” he explained. Managers will need to be very tech savvy in the future Robertson advised. “A manager will need to be smarter than before and see what robots have done and what they need to learn to do,” he stated.
Additionally, robots break and someone will need to oversee the repairs. There will be jobs created to do just that. “Robots can try to understand the problem, but it may take a skilled technician to handle more complex issues. The key to future consumer businesses is a valued relationship. That means a positive customer experience when they call or contact the company for help. Robotics is one answer, but some people with much higher technology skills will be essential too.”