Industry 4.0: How to Enhance Your Skills for The Future of Work
By James Lynch | Febuary 24, 2020
Research from the Committee for Economic Development of Australia found that more than five million jobs (almost 40% of Australian jobs that exist today) have a moderate to high likelihood of disappearing in the next 10 to 15 years (Australia, 2015).
A.I expert says automation could replace 40% of jobs in 15 years (Reisinger,2019).
In researching the impact of automation on the workforce and jobs of tomorrow; reports and headlines such as those described above can stir elements of concern if not panic in all of us.
There is no question that you will need new or updated set of skills if you expect to remain relevant in the workplace of tomorrow. Innovation and development of technology has changed the way we live, communicate and do business. Such change has disrupted traditional industries so much that it is completing redefining what new skills employees should now possess.
In case you haven’t heard the term before, Industry 4.0 (I4.0) is a reference to the next industrial revolution (think steam power engine revolution of 1784). Rather than steam power however, this revolution is about technology driving vast changes in processes, information systems and communication. These changes are leading to more automation in workplace tasks than has ever been seen before.
The reality is, that agile and innovative digital business models which are embracing these changes are already threatening the existence of established companies in almost every industry. In turn businesses and employees that fail to embrace change and transform their offerings or skills will no longer be able to remain competitive are fast becoming irrelevant (Oracle, 2016).
Believe it or not, this revolution has already begun and the implications on business, the job market, training and human capital are extensive. This means that every one of us will need to rethink what is expected of us now and in the future.
What is driving this change?
Research shows that consumers are now demanding more with respect to the importance of quality and reliability of goods in addition to the information and technical condition of products and services they request. Furthermore, there is also a heighted demand for more customised and individualised service, products, solutions and services on scale (Espejo & Gandolfo, 2017).
What these changes mean for future skill requirements
As the automation and digitalisation of work processes increase, workers will be required to take charge of less manual and more complex tasks. The skills required to manage these new requirements include literacy, numeracy, problem-solving, information technology in addition to the soft skills of autonomy, coordination and collaboration (Grundke et al. 2017).
To further emphasise the impact of technology, the UK Government’s industrial strategy notes that “within two decades, 90% of jobs will require some form of digital proficiency” (JISC, 2018).
In Australia, it is expected that over the next decade we will face significant skills shortages in these areas (Deloitte Insights, 2019) and more than half of working Australian’s expect that work in five years’ time will require skills we currently do not have (Swinburne University of Technology, 2019).
What it means for you
As we experience and embrace this revolution, it’s important to start thinking about what skills will be required in the future within your role and industry. As part of the research process it is worth collecting as much information on current and emerging roles via industry and government reports, social media platforms such as LinkedIn, thought leader periodicals, job search sites such as Seek or via education providers such as Mentor Education to gain an understanding of what your future role may look like.
In reading this it can seem somewhat threatening and raise concern about what the future holders.
However, the true outcome of this revolution is that it is likely to create more opportunity than ever before and worth noting the World Economic Forum’s “The Future of Jobs Report” estimates that 75 million jobs maybe lost due to automation, yet on the flipside 133 million new jobs will emerge by 2022 (Vilbert, 2019)!
Chiţiba, C. (2018). INDUSTRY 4.0. Knowledge Horizons. Economics Vol.10(2), 72-75.
Deloitte Insights. (2019). Building the Lucky Country #7 - ‘The path to prosperity: Why the future of work is human’. Web: Deloitte. Retrieved October 2, 2019, from https://cica.org.au/wp-content/uploads/90572c4f-4bb5-4b54-bf27-cc100d86890d_20190612-btlc-inbound-future-work-human-report.pdf
Espejo, R., & Gandolfo, D. (2017). "Cybernetics of Value Cocreation for Product Development.". Systems Research and Behavioral Science 34.1, 24-40.
Grundke, R. et al. (2018), “Which skills for the digital era?: Returns to skills analysis”, OECD Science, Technology andIndustry Working Papers, 2018/09, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9a9479b5-en
JISC. (2018, June 2018). Digital skills crucial to the success of fourth industrial revolution. Retrieved from https://www.jisc.ac.uk/news/digital-skills-crucial-to-the-success-of-fourth-industrial-revolution-28-jun-2018
Oracle. (2016). CLOUD: Opening up the Road to Industry 4.0. Redwood Shores: Oracle Corporation.
Roblek, V., Meško, M., & Krapež, A. (2016). "A Complex View of Industry 4.0.". SAGE Open, Vol.6(2).
Reisinger, D. (2019, January 11). Fortune. Retrieved from A.I Expert Say Automation Could Replace 40% of Jobs in 15 Years: https://fortune.com/2019/01/10/automation-replace-jobs/
Swinburne University of Technology. (2019). National Survey Report - Peak Human Potential: Preparing Australia's workforce for the digital future. Hawthorn, Victoria : Centre for the New Workforce -Swinburne University of Technology. Retrieved October 10, 2019, from https://www.swinburne.edu.au/media/swinburneeduau/centre-for-the-new-workforce/cnew-national-survey-report.pdf
Vilbert, J. (2019, September 10). Foundation for Economic Education. Retrieved from Technology Creates More Jobs Than it Destroys: https://fee.org/articles/technology-creates-more-jobs-than-it-destroys/