From jobs to superjobs

2019 Global Human Capital Trends

As organisations embrace and adopt robotics and AI, they’re finding that virtually every job can be redesigned—creating new categories of work, including hybrid jobs and “superjobs.”

The use of artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive technologies, and robotics to automate and augment work is on the rise, prompting the redesign of jobs in a growing number of domains. The jobs of today are more machine-powered and data-driven than in the past, and they also require more human skills in problem-solving, communication, interpretation, and design. As machines take over repeatable tasks and the work people do becomes less routine, many jobs will rapidly evolve into what we call “superjobs”—the newest job category that changes the landscape of how organisations think about work.

During the last few years, many have been alarmed by studies predicting that AI and robotics will do away with jobs. In 2019, this topic remains very much a concern among our Global Human Capital Trends survey respondents. Almost two-thirds of this year’s respondents (64 percent) cited AI and robotics as an important or very important issue in human capital. But are fears of net job losses to technology realistic? And what additional implications does the growing adoption of these technologies in the workplace hold?

First, let’s discuss the technology. The market for technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA)—software to automate manual tasks—is growing at 20 percent per year and is likely to reach US$5 billion by 2024.1 Reflecting this growth, 41 percent of respondents to our 2019 Global Human Capital Trends survey say they are using automation extensively or across multiple functions. Among the various ways they are automating work, RPA is the most prevalent, but 26 percent of respondents are using robotics, 22 percent are using AI, and 22 percent are using cognitive technologies as well (figure 1). And their use is expected to spread. In our survey, 64 percent of respondents saw growth ahead in robotics, 80 percent predicted growth in cognitive technologies, and 81 percent predicted growth in AI. Now that organisations are using these technologies, it appears they are seeing the benefits and investing heavily in them.

2019 Deloitte Human Capital Trends Report for South Africa
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