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Will automation make jobs redundant?

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Experts from Tripartite Alliance for Fair & Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP) clarify how employers can prepare their workforce for the impact of rapid technological progress.

Many employees today are concerned that rapid technological progress will result in the replacement of jobs with machines, and in particular, older workers who may have entered the workforce doing jobs that are now, or increasingly becoming, automated.

So how can employers prepare their workforce for this fundamental change?

Rethinking work architecture

As we move towards an economy where learning and adaptability are key success drivers, reskilling and upskilling play a key role in successfully keeping employees’ growth parallel to business growth. Start by identifying job roles that are likely to change over the next few years and skills that today’s employees need to develop as their roles evolve.

Leading employers recognise that technologies are most effective when they complement humans, not replace them. By understanding the unique capabilities that both machines and humans bring to different types of work, you can then identify the types of skills required.

For example, human skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving and people management will gain importance and take on new dimensions in the future. Take stock of the level of skills of your workforce in these areas and put in place appropriate ways of building these skills.

Create a culture of continuous learning where workers feel supported and empowered to manage and develop their skills. 

Culture of learning and adaptability

Create a culture of continuous learning where workers feel supported and empowered to manage and develop their skills. Having role models and mentors for older workers also helps increase the likelihood of successful adaptability in learning new skills and roles.

In fact, in this era of longevity where an individual’s career can last far longer than the previous generations, focusing on constant development and learning will only grow in importance.

Debunking the myth

To many, “automation” is a worrying concept due to its association to being replaced by machines.
Although the introduction of automation may change the skills and requirements needed to be able to take advantage of the new technologies, it generally involves streamlining smaller and repetitive tasks.

This allows employees to upskill and move on to new and more meaningful jobs. Show your employees that you are ready to embrace automation by having a clear understanding of the skills needed to take effective advantage of automation.

As workplace trends evolve and both businesses and HR find ways to adapt, it is important to retain your workforce with their strong business and process knowledge and train them in a new role.

The acceleration of change will continue, but with the right values and focus on your workforce, you can be certain that your workforce will be your competitive edge as you progress.


TAFEP holds regular workshops to help employers and HR professionals keep abreast of HR best practices. Visit www.tafep.sg to find out more.

Photo / StockUnlimited

HR Masterclass from Human Resources magazine: High-level HR strategy training workshops
led by the world's most respected HR thought leaders & strategists.
Review the 2018 programme here »

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