If you were to believe the hype, you’d think that the ongoing use of automation through Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and AI will put us all out of a job in the not too distant future.
Yes it’s undisputed that some jobs will be displaced by the adoption of RPA - just as they were by the adoption of preceding technologies, from the printing press to the Excel spreadsheet. But we humans have proved remarkably adaptable, and the emergence of technology has created new opportunities - after all, in the UK at the end of last year, the unemployment rate stood at just 3.8%.
This isn’t to say that we don’t need to prepare for the future. Employers, Government and educators need to start to plan how they can upskill their current employees and future generations in order to take full advantage of the roles that automation will create.
We’ve developed our list of ‘21 jobs for 2021’ that are already in existence or we believe will be created by the emergence of automation technology:
Algorithm Bias Auditor In the pursuit of true equality, we need to make sure that bots and services don’t carry any biases introduced unintentionally by their designers. As headlines hit the press surrounding algorithm bias particularly in regards to gender, the future is likely to see independent algorithm bias auditors in place to prevent bot bias from spreading.
Automated Fleet Vehicle Scheduler Automated vehicles may be making the headlines for helping us to get where we want to go with ease, but they are more so widely used in port automation and modern container terminals, where human intervention is still very much necessary.
Automation Orchestration Manager RPA or any type of automation is not a one-off process. Typically, companies implement it in stages and frequently, they may find at times that it’s not optimised or not delivering the results they want. We are already seeing Automation Orchestration Managers being applied to large scale projects to ensure that all automated services are orchestrated so as to deliver better results.
Automation Tester Alongside the automation design resources, automation testers manage the test and release of production automations. It is recommended that these resources are separate from the automation developers to maintain independence of testing and review, though good practice is to alternate development and testing resource between these roles on a periodic basis.
Staff Empathy consultant As bots are introduced to the workforce, their human colleagues will probably feel a range of emotions, from excitement to apprehension. Having trained professionals on hand to make sure businesses are listening to their employees will be key.
Bot Manager While they don’t need holidays or toilet breaks, bots do need to be managed through software upgrades to ensure they stay compatible and secure, and to make sure new services are properly orchestrated with one another.
Bot Controller Bots can be seasonal and can be switched on and off according to peaks and troughs. Bot controllers are in place to manage bot resource according to demand.
Head of Centre of Excellence (COE) Centres of Excellence are emerging as we automate in order to consolidate to deliver services more effectively. HR is a prime example of this. We’ll still have HR Managers, but we’ll also have HR Centre of Excellence Managers to oversee the delivery of all automated HR services.
Digital Ethics Investment Consultant It’s already been shown that investors prefer companies that couple automation with re-investing in their staff, rather than resorting to mass redundancies. Digital ethics will play a big role in the investment strategies of venture capitalists and private equity firms of the future.
Health Data Analyst It may seem a long way off that wearables will report our every move to our doctors, but virtual clinical trials are already running, and health analysts are using the data they create to determine the future of drug discovery and production. AI is also helping analysts to identify patterns helpful to disease prevention.
Head of RPA Not a title that would have existed on any development floor 10 or perhaps even five years ago, today major vendors and large enterprises employ this hybrid role, which frequently sits between IT and operations and liaises with senior stakeholders to ensure businesses needs are being met by automation.
Licence administrator for Esports, autonomous vehicles and Public VR Does what it says on the tin. The role of licensing admins is about to take off into a whole new territory as automation and AI software comes into their purview. Something we may see popping up within local government in the UK soon.
Platform Manager Automation doesn’t happen on an island. Most automation is platform led and orchestrated, with constant human interaction and supervision to ensure that services are working to deliver optimised value and working well together to achieve the needs of a given organisation or business.
Purpose & Value Strategist It’s not enough (or really possible) to simply ‘switch on’ automation at an organisation and hoover up the benefits overnight. What are you looking to achieve with your projects? And what are the key values you want to stick to during the process? A trained Strategist can shoulder this load.
Automation Process Analyst Before we can get to delivering full end to end services, we must be able to evaluate the processes that go into making up these services. We also need to make sure that we set to automate the right processes to deliver services. Process Analysts are already working to identify what should be automated, and when.
Robotic Licence Auditors & Registrar With the lines blurring between human and robotic labour and talk of robot tax on the rise, soon it may be feasible that every business must licence their bots, while also being liable for robotic audits. And who will keep track of the bots? The Robotic Registrar of course.
ROM Architect The Robotic Operating Model (ROM) Architect is responsible for managing the creation of the delivery capability within an organisation. They operate in a lead consultancy role to help define and roll out the optimal approach to creating a RPA capability within and across an organisation.
RPA Consultant RPA Consultants exist in the here and now, and as more businesses begin to seriously consider automation, these experts will visit and scope the services that businesses may want to start with.
RPA Developers Those developers who truly understand RPA are a hot commodity for both vendors and businesses wanting to get cracking with deploying automation to save time and money, and to elevate human staff to more interesting roles.
Scheduling data analyst Managing the workload and demand for the virtual workforce. This role is critical for ensuring peak demand periods are managed appropriately.
Voice UX Designer We’ve all spoken to a robot during a customer service enquiry - but as this becomes more and more prevalent, having someone dedicated to designing a strong ‘voice UX’ will become a key differentiator for competing businesses.
New roles will evolve but it's also worth noting how existing roles will change in every department. So for instance people in procurement that buy IT software will need to know how to purchase licences from software companies to be used by robots as well as human; the legal department will need to understand the implications of this; the risk team will need to understand how this is insured and the finance team will need to work out how this is costed and the implications across the organisation.
It’s true: Robotic Process Automation (RPA) may mean the end of some job roles. But if implemented strategically, RPA is well positioned to increase the job satisfaction of the jobs that are left to humans, while also introducing new careers into the job market that we may never have anticipated.