There is no denying that the global labour market is undergoing a process of change caused by drastic demographic changes, which can be rightly labelled a ‘demographic earthquake’. To put it very briefly, the world population is ageing.
According to a report published by the United States Census Bureau in 2016, 2020 will be the first year when people over 65 will outnumber children under 5. It is forecasted that this is, in fact, the beginning of a new demographic trend; thirty years from now, in 2050, there will be 15.6% people over 65, and less than half young children — 7.2%. The sharpening inequality between the number of newborns and that of people older than 65 will have deep economic effects due to a sharp decrease in the labour force.
But if we are collectively growing older, who is going to work? (Read more on this subject in our article about the impact of RPA on the changing global labour market.) It is expected that the scientific and technological advances in the field of robotics may help address this question.
For instance, with robotic process automation deployment, companies can make better use of these shrunken human capital resources, e.g., by directing the employees to embrace non-routine jobs. But are these general considerations applicable as such to IT jobs? In fact, what is the impact of RPA on the IT job market?
In order to better understand the specific effects of automation on the IT job market, we should start with some findings of the future of jobs in general in the context of the digital revolution.
According to the KPMG report Rise of the Humans, currently, humans perform 71% of the total tasks, and the rest of 29% are executed by robots. However, the forecast is that until 2025 the distribution of tasks will tend to average out, with 58% of the tasks handled by humans and 42% by machines.
A PwC analysis based on 200,000 existing jobs across 29 countries shows that one-third of jobs could be automated by the mid-2030s.
Disproving 7 myths about RPA and IT jobs
It’s rather likely that working people, IT professionals included, may fall prey to the mythology of ‘robots will steal our jobs’. But debunking some prevalent misconceptions might help the IT crews acknowledge that automation is, in fact, what relieves them the burden of routine, tedious tasks.
1. The configuration of RPA requires strong coding skills.
False. All users need to do is to connect process steps via drag and drop principles, and then the code is generated automatically. Therefore, the limited level of programming skills necessary for automation can be achieved relatively easy, by training.
2. RPA is incompatible with underlying computer systems
False. RPA is an additional layer of complexity to the legacy systems, with which it coexists. As opposed to other BPM tools, software robots can use login credentials to access data from the presentation layer without storing it.
3. RPA is invasive
False. Bots simply learn the rules that guide rule based processes and press keys accordingly. There are two kinds of bots: attended or front office ones, working side by side with the staff, and unattended or back office, which can be pre-programmed or automatically prompted by specific events.