Automation and robotics are becoming increasingly capable of taking over at least aspects of many jobs. Some people are concerned that their entire job will replaced. However, there is good news if you’re among those concerned about losing their jobs to robot overlords – researchers at McKinsey found that only roughly five percent of current US jobs could be completely automated using existing technology.
If automation and robotics won’t replace your job, they will certainly change significant parts of your job, mostly for the better.
The McKinsey researchers examined the benefits to automating parts of a job by surveying 2,000 tasks commonly found in American jobs. They estimate that in 60 percent of current US jobs, 30 percent or more of the work activities could be automated using existing technology. That equals 1.5 days in your work week. Not only would this work be taken off your workload, it’s likely the work would get done more accurately or to a higher level of quality.
Unfortunately, this likely won’t be mean shorter work weeks anytime soon. But, it does mean that you can spend more time doing tasks that people do well, such as setting strategy, creating content, supervising and mentoring.
Take the example of an average marketing manager. Marketing managers are often highly skilled and highly compensated workers. The organization needs them doing the work for which they are best or uniquely suited. Roughly 10-15 percent of tasks in such a job could be automated, such as reviewing pricing decisions, estimating material costs for product production, and surveying industry literature for trends and competitive information. Automating these tasks could free up roughly half a day per week for a marketing manager.
An extra half-day per week equals more than 20 work days per year. That time could go to new product research, increased sales training, additional product promotions, and other activities that directly impact the bottom line, provide job satisfaction and benefit from a human touch.
Analytics provides the brains behind automating job tasks. First, analytics build lists of tasks through anomaly detection, failure analysis, root cause analysis and other techniques. Tasks might include maintenance work, repairs, corrective steps, scheduled activities, etc. Next, these tasks are then scored according to complexity, criticality, urgency, cost impact, risk of danger, likelihood of human error, and other characteristics.
Depending on these scores, tasks might be done automatically, done pending review of a human, initiated only after gaining permission from a human, or left to humans to do. The tasks needing human permission, review or labor are presented in a prioritized list to facilitate decision making and resource allocation.
By sorting work in this way, and then carrying out some of the work, analytics become a powerful assistant to workers striving to serve customers better while optimizing organizational performance.
(Image courtesy of nd3000 / 123RF Stock Photo)