Lockdown has changed the way businesses operate and will have long, permanent impact on how they operate in the future.
We have seen working from home being a debated topic, whether companies in the near future will accept this as the norm is yet to be seen. Video calling has forced many to adapt to remote interactions that has changed our views on communication, this is sure to be affect the future.
But the most significant change to business from the pandemic is the economic growth and employment rates, or lack of. What will change once the pandemic restrictions are over to how the country and economy grow?
With low levels of employment and companies forced to compete, post covid efficiency will aim to rise. It may also be that many companies have found new levels of efficiency due to the forced lack of staff available due to covid regulations on offices and going to work. The furlough scheme has allowed many organisations to run as lean as possible.
The covid pandemic has also accelerated technological advances, for example automation in logistics and delivery, which has improved due to the increase in demand.
Non employment growth using automation and artificial intelligence could be around the corner. Using a balanced view, this article will address the Pros and Cons of a possible near future.
“77% of CEO’s are planing to use operational efficiencies in the next 12 months to drive revenue growth “ PwC 22nd annual CEO survey
higher operational output and GDP rise
According to PwC’s global AI study, AI will lead to a 26% increase in global GDP by 2030, thats a $15.7 trillion increase (greater than India’s and China’s current combined GDP). 60% of that growth is driven by increased consumption rates, whilst the increase in productivity will rise account for the 40%. This increase in AI powered productivity will have too many benefits to mention.
New types of jobs created
Whilst the comparative post covid employment levels will not increase, new types of jobs would be created due to the requirement for greater business operational efficiency. The below graph from PwC shows what the trade off in jobs due to AI could be. Post lockdown businesses could be moving towards the 97 million (see below pie chart) sooner than expected to drive better efficiency and productivity.
Dangerous tasks automated
If a nationwide appreciation for running lean on the ground takes off, many production, manufacturing and building companies could be switching to automated house building, more automated delivery systems, more automated food manufacture. Eliminating human error and paying less insurance for dangerous work could be a result from Covid 19.
Upskilling and Reskilling
With less people at offices and workplaces individuals will be positioned to improve their skillsets to add value in either better ways or different ways. One way of this could likely be operating new systems that better replace large teams. A team member managing multiple prediction, automation and conversational systems would give much more efficiency compared to an office filled with high paid individuals.
Sustained levels of unemployment
A large feature of unemployment growth is the lack of employment over time. If efficiency becomes a driving factor, as outlined in the previous graphs, people in seats will become less prevalent. Hopefully this drives retraining and reselling, but due to the impacts of Covid and lockdown, this may take some time. The world economic forum outlines that the recession and automation will cause a “double-disruption” for workers. Furthermore : “Forty-three percent of businesses surveyed indicate that they are set to reduce their workforce due to technology integration, 41% plan to expand their use of contractors for task-specialized work, and 34% plan to expand their workforce due to technology integration.”
Further bad news could be the change of how things are done in business, removing manual work. Skilled workers could no longer be needed and knowledge and skills could be lost forever due to the upsides of automation and new technology such as artificial intelligence.
Many companies could be left behind
Because of recession and lockdown having an effect on businesses at the same time, things are expected to move quicker. Adoption of new technology will lead to many companies not being able to compete to the responsive group in the industries. If companies do not train for the soft skills that AI cannot replace, they are at risk of being inefficient in the near future.
85% of business leaders think that AI will significantly change the way they do business in the next 5 years, but nearly a quarter have no plans to pursue AI ‘at the moment’.
With more people being trained in software, data science and AI related subjects the speed of new technology will exponentially increase over time. Adoption to these new ways of working could put many behind the curve.
Use our interactive assessment to find out how AI can work with your business