You guessed it – the headline of this blog post is not meant to be taken entirely seriously. Even if there is a lot of talk about falling GDP and recession at the moment, if digitalisation and automation are progressing too slowly in Germany and AI is knocking loudly at the door, the shortage of jobs and skilled workers will probably remain with us for some time to come.
Boomer and GenZ
There is still a shortage of labour in many areas, for example in the skilled trades and retail, catering and care, as well as in education and training. This is because the boomers are retiring faster than expected and Generation Z is looking for good earnings and a good work-life balance. This is a crux for SMEs: large companies and corporations have been offering handsome salaries for years in order to attract interesting young professionals. And they have the means and opportunities to quickly test the potential of AI and integrate it into their processes – more so than many SMEs, which are just happy to be able to process current orders with their staff. There is also a lack of personnel and digitalisation in public administration. At best, start-ups that are positioning themselves for the future with their business models and a lot of enthusiasm are in a better position – if they manage to successfully scale their often rapid growth.
For many others, the following applies: many professions and therefore jobs cannot be replaced by robots or AI overnight. This applies in particular to the areas mentioned above. In the long term, however, jobs will disappear, which will reduce the shortage of labour and skilled workers. But which jobs will be affected?
A study conducted by McKinsey in the USA predicts that AI will lead to a loss of jobs, particularly in office work, customer service and sales, as well as catering and production work (including manufacturing). According to this study, the low-wage segment in particular will be affected.
But even higher and higher earners are not on the safe side: at the end of September this year, the FAZ reported on a study by academics from Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan, Wharton School and Warwick Business School. They investigated whether and what effects AI has on the work of knowledge workers – using traditional management tasks as an example. The result: AI cannot replace them, but it can improve output. The logical consequence: knowledge workers’ jobs will also disappear or change fundamentally.
I find another aspect of this study at least as exciting: the skills of high and low performers are levelling out through the use of AI, i.e. knowledge workers who previously showed below-average performance are catching up thanks to AI – and are being replaced.
I find another aspect of this study at least as exciting: the skills of high and low performers are levelling out through the use of AI, i.e. knowledge workers who previously performed below average are catching up thanks to AI – and significantly so. And this in turn will have an impact on skill-based recruiting.
Even though Elon Musk predicted in London a few weeks ago that AI would make work superfluous sooner or later, this assessment does not pulverise the current demand for workers and specialists. In my view, an individualised approach to short, medium and long-term HR policy is becoming increasingly important. SMEs need to consider questions such as the following:
- Product range: is this so promising for the future that major investments in machinery or state-of-the-art software are worthwhile?
- Processes: What can be optimised and at what cost?
- Personnel structure: What can be absorbed by further training, where is recruiting necessary? How open are employees to far-reaching changes in processes and activities?
What can your company expect? Let’s take a look at your facts and data together to discover and develop potential. Feel free to contact me or take advantage of my hybrid consulting services.