Manufacturers expect AI to result in job losses, productivity gains

The manufacturing sector expects it will be hit the hardest by the uptake of artificial intelligence, according to a recent survey conducted by global, non-profit IT association ISACA.

“As we move into the 2020s, the pace of technology-driven change will continue to accelerate, so it’s more important than ever to be always learning,” ISACA CEO, David Samuelson, said.

“Both as individuals and in our companies, we will need new skills and frameworks to be equipped to navigate the inevitable change ahead.”

ISACA’s Next Decade of Tech: Envisioning the 2020s survey of more than 5,000 business technology professionals found that 57 per cent of respondents believe the further uptake of AI will result in “big job losses” in the manufacturing industry in the next decade.

Comparatively,  54 per cent of  respondents predict AI will eliminate finance jobs and 42 per cent believe it will affect other sectors, such as healthcare and technology.

Survey respondents believe the concept of the augmented workforce – people, robots and AI working closely together – will be widespread and have an overwhelming impact on how jobs are performed across all sectors.

Respondents believe AI will lead to an increase in short-term contracts and a decrease in job stability. Short-term contracts are predicted to rise by over half to 57 per cent in each sector, leading to a decrease in the traditional 40-hour work week.

About 88 per cent of respondents predict manufacturing will see a moderate or major impact on profitability from AI, but are unconvinced that enterprises are adequately preparing themselves for what tech advancements in the next decade will set in motion.

Around 81 per cent of respondents think enterprises are not yet investing adequately in the people skills needed to navigate the technology changes to come, while 70 per cent think enterprises are underinvesting in the technology needed to retool their organisations for the 2020s.

A 2019 Deloitte report, however, found that 41 per cent of the senior-level managers surveyed expected their full-time labour force to increase, and only 23 per cent expected it would decrease. Furthermore, 54 per cent of managers expected that new digital technologies would go hand-in-hand with further investment in staff training.