While processes will become increasingly digitized, very few of those jobs will be entirely automated, at least not in the near or medium term, a recent McKinsey report3 found. Instead, workers will devote less time — or no time — to repetitious drudge work, and more time to high-level strategy and dealing with customers. This especially impacts small to midsize businesses whose owners and managers are being pulled in numerous directions at once, making it easy to either neglect backend processes, or conversely, spend far too much time on them.
You can see it happening already in areas such as finance, where modernized accounts payable processes free workers to concentrate on solving high-level problems — or listen to customers and learn what new services they would like, leading to possible new lines of business (and probably, new automated workflows).
In fact, job automation will reduce errors and increase productivity tremendously. It will become an important competitive differentiator, the McKinsey report said.
Jobs that can be fully automated have a higher chance of disappearing. You likely won’t be seeing as many want ads for assembly line workers, call center employees, or data entry clerks. Meanwhile, insurance underwriters and tax preparers who deal with the basics will need to learn new skills.