The impact of tech and digitalisation on white-collar employment is multifaceted. Initially, there was much noise around potential job displacement due to automation. But in reality, it turned out to be a transformative force in generating new employment avenues. India’s white-collar job market in July 2023 witnessed an impressive 18% month-on-month increase, marking the highest monthly growth in two years. This trend is indicative of the positive impact that technology and digitalisation have brought. (Data source: LinkedIn and prominent company job boards).
Technology adoption has become synonymous with progress and competitiveness, creating a digital ecosystem that not only opens new horizons for white-collar professionals but ushers in a new era of work.
Technology has revolutionised the concept of work, enabling remote collaboration on a scale never imagined before. The advent of cloud computing, digital onboarding systems, and sophisticated collaboration tools has empowered employers to break free from geographical boundaries and cultivate a diverse workforce of employees residing across the globe.
At the same time, with technology, locations for some early career jobs are no longer confined to just the metros. This shift has fostered increased participation in the white-collar workforce, as it appeals to a more diverse and widespread talent pool.
Resistance to technology (especially AI) was a knee-jerk reaction for many. However, it is important to note that while digitalisation disrupted some white-collar jobs, it also created new opportunities.
A report from the World Economic Forum mentions AI and automation will bring significant job displacement by 2025. However, it also highlights their capacity to create 97 million fresh employment opportunities, particularly in sectors like healthcare, education, and green energy.
AI relies heavily on data analysis and pattern recognition. Emotional intelligence, creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving are areas where AI falls short compared to human capabilities. Therefore, today, many roles require a fusion of white-collar expertise and digital literacy to drive high-level strategic outputs.
In e-commerce and manufacturing, we see a spike in new job demand, such as personalisation engineers for creating and commanding AI-driven recommendation systems, supply chain automation specialists for optimising supply chain operations and inventory management, and automation technicians for troubleshooting automated manufacturing systems.
The BFSI sector has seen an increased demand for chief digital officers, regtech analysts, AI compliance officers, and data privacy officers, all essential to ensure adherence to strict legal and data privacy regulations in this highly regulated domain.
Of course, we cannot miss the IT sector, which is at the forefront of white-collar hiring demand due to ever-advancing technology. Insights from Indeed’s Q2 2023 hiring tracker reveal that the IT industry has taken a leading role in the escalating demand for white-collar talent, necessitating specific skill sets. Roles such as automation specialists, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and chatbot developers, data engineers, AI model auditors, AI/ML ops engineers, and more are all indicative of this trend.
Not just that, digital technologies have given rise to telemedicine, electronic health records, and health informatics roles. Healthcare professionals are leveraging technology for patient care, record-keeping, and providing remote medication consultations using telemedicine platforms and AI-assisted tools. The demand for health data analysts is rising, focusing on analysing extensive datasets to enhance patient care and clinical outcomes.
These examples merely scratch the surface of the extensive array of roles that digitalisation has brought about, boosting white-collar jobs across a multitude of industries. As candidates navigate the digital boom, tech and soft skills will continue to play a pivotal role in this evolving landscape.
Adaptability, digital literacy, and a willingness to acquire new skills are prerequisites for white-collar workers to thrive in this evolving job market. As the demand for digital skills and expertise has surged, candidates must constantly upskill to harness the power of digital tools.
Technology is not just bringing a change but a revolution by redesigning the quality of job roles. From where I sit, it’s clear that this transformation represents a world of untapped possibilities for organisations while necessitating a readiness among the white-collar workforce to navigate uncharted waters and embrace new skills. Those who can grasp the full potential of digitalisation are poised to remain relevant in this ever-evolving world.
Source: India Today
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