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Future Proofing Candidates’ Technical Skills

15/05/17 Neena James Consultant - R&D / Engineering

As technology continues to develop, robotics and machine learning will make greater inroads into activities that today have only a low technical potential for automation. New techniques are enabling safer and more enhanced physical collaboration between robots and humans in what are now considered unpredictable environments.

Automation technologies such as machine learning and robotics will increasingly play a greater role in everyday life, there are ever-increasing effects on the workplace and how workers must learn new skills to enable a better functionality. As recruiters we must future proof our candidates’ skills in order to prepare them for a changing working landscape. The World Economic Forum predicted that five million jobs could be replaced by automation, AI and robots globally by 2020. Though manufacturing jobs are one of the most at risk from automation that process has already been taking place over many years with the introduction of SMT and pick & place machines, mig welding robots, machine inspection etc. 

According to Jobsite, candidates are concerned. Almost three-quarters (71%) feel they will need to upgrade their skills to manage automation processes or change jobs in the near future. For candidates, it is essential that they look at future-proofing their career path and develop new skills, but how can we as recruiters assist candidates?

A recent whitepaper – Automation age: A look at the Changing Workplace by Jobsite, looks at how automation is being used across the industry. Research found candidates fear automation could negatively impact future jobs and when looking at concerns surrounding automation, it found the following candidate concerns:

49% of candidates were concerned they would ultimately lose their jobs 
37% of candidates believe their current skills would become obsolete due to automation 
27% of candidates feel they will lose the most enjoyable part of their job 
27% of candidates feel they have limited opportunities for progression 
26% of candidates are concerned that their salary will be reduce due to their lack of skills

It is clear candidates must develop their skills in order to stay relevant to their current positions or to enable them to find another job or further their career.

How do we help candidates’ future proof their careers?

Candidates and clients need to prepare for a future rise of in opportunitiess involving AI and automation jobs. Even if it is with the slightest changes to activities which were generally carried out by a human. An entire economy is being created from the increasing use of automation, which will offer real career change options for candidates. It will open greater doors for those who learn the skills now.

Candidates must take note and start researching on how they can develop these new skills, and current skills need to be refreshed on an on-going basis. Employers need to adopt the changes and up-skill their staff as a mandatory part of a job, whilst employees should take advantage of any opportunities presented to them internally through their organisation, and externally through professional bodies. Skills and knowledge can be developed through the following methods:

Online learning courses 
Continuing Professional Development via technical courses
Academic courses such as Degrees 
Management courses 

Neena James, R&D /Engineering Consultant at Redline Group gives us her thoughts on the topic: “Jobs continuously evolve with new processes, new technologies and workers have had to adapt to changing working conditions. Take the prediction of a paperless office – many worker still rely on printed documents and the likes of big data applications are allowing all of us to have greater customer experiences. The need to up-skill and re-skill is nothing new. Automation is just another challenge the workforce must face.

With the pace of technological changes impacting the workplace for many sectors including engineering, R&D and manufacturing, job seekers and recruiters alike must continue to develop their skills or they will be left behind. 
As specialist technology recruiters, we believe it is crucial that in any career it is vital to continue skills development and training. We encourage clients to ensure they provide opportunities for further education, in-house training, professional and educational development. This will benefit companies in recruiting and retaining staff.” 

As specialist technology recruiters, we believe it is crucial that in any career it is vital to continue skills development and training which is why we support “Learning at Work Week”. We encourage  clients to ensure they provide opportunities for further education, in-house training, professional and educational development. This will benefit companies i in retaining staff whilst  developing a highly trained work force. If you’re interested in technology and based in the South East London Tech Week is a festival of live events across the city, showcasing and celebrating the best of tech whilst providing networking, social, learning and business opportunities.”