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Automation doesn’t mean people will be out of their jobs

A lot is said about the rise of automation and that this will costs the jobs of very many people. That’s not necessarily the case as seen in the real world.

Accenture is a prime example in this. “Over the last 18 months, automation replaced 17 000 jobs in back office processing. But actually, we haven’t laid those people off. We are fortunate enough to reskill and reposition them”, says Richard Lumb, the CEO of Accenture, to BusinessInsider.

“We took that approach when we were going to bring in greater automation at scale. Not every company is going to be able to do that and not every company is able to grow and expand like we do”, he adds. Accenture still has more than 394 000 employees all over the world. 100 000 of them work for the back office processing.

And Accenture has managed to find the right way to implement automation. “To be honest, automation eliminated a lot of boring and repetitive tasks for workers. Since we take the approach of augmenting human staff with automation, it actually has eliminated more menial work and boosted productivity for the staff”, Lumb adds. Also, the company went out of its way to make sure it retains the people who are affected by automation and give them new roles which they are pleased with.

This included additional IT training for 72 000 staff members which the company paid for. This goes with the strategy of Accenture to keep the staff continually reskilled and up-to-date with the latest technologies.

Automation can help in a lot of areas

This goes in line with other real world examples of how automation can help. Take the e-government for example. Originally, you would have to go to the given institution to get any official document. This means lost time for you and for the employees who have to complete the request. A lot of said employees want that to continue as they think e-government platforms will cost them their jobs.

But that’s not actually true. The e-government bureaucracy and frees up the employees to do other more productive things or digitize content. Of course, this is provided that the institutions have a strategy in place to reskill the staff and find new roles for them.

There are benefits of automation in journalism, too. Bots are now writing mundane articles about the results from the financial markets for example leaving reporters free to create follow up stories.

The point is, automation won’t mean people will lose their jobs. This is an important message which companies should bring to their staff. What Accenture is doing is quite right. They identify the ways automation can help out not only their business, but their employees as well. The end result is a great balance of tech and people who are motivated, productive and provided with the needed skills to excel at their jobs.