With a growing amount of companies automating their processes, fears that artificial intelligence will replace jobs are only increasing. But how will this affect opportunities for candidates across STEM? And what will the greater impact be on the recruitment industry?

We spoke to Kalpesh Baxi, Senior Partner at SThree, to find out more about the real impact that AI will have on the future of talent.

1Highly skilled resources maximised

It’s important to remember that technology isn’t a substitute for people, it’s an enhancement that allows us all to do our jobs better. According to a study by McKinsey and Company, while 50% of activities within a job could be automated, realistically only 5% of jobs could be fully replaced by existing technologies.

While it’s true that numerous low level tasks will be replaced by robots, there’ll also be a rise in opportunities for highly skilled professionals. Introducing artificial intelligence to cover more basic tasks allows organisations to spend more money on highly skilled resources that can drive impactful change. So while some jobs could be replaced, new jobs that require high level, specialist skills will come into fruition; people and technology will be working together to create a brighter future for technology, likely resulting in more opportunities for professionals within STEM industries.

2. More free time

It’s no secret that in high pressured jobs, many professionals are pushed to the edge. With AI being able to take on lower level tasks, time will be freed up. This gives the worker time that they can utilise to their advantage. This could mean they can cut down on overtime that’s needed for dealing with admin, and it allows for more time to be spent on business critical tasks, rather than non-value add activities.

3. Increased personalisation

Yes, artificial intelligence might replace certain aspects of jobs - but there’s no substitute for the personal touch; across some industries, it doesn’t matter how advanced our technology becomes, we’ll always need people.

Let’s take recruitment for example; yes, AI can replace certain elements of a job – it can screen CV’s, send out adverts, and assist in candidate sourcing – but at the end of the day, recruitment is about people. And establishing a strong cultural fit between candidate and client, is something a machine would find harder to do in the same way skilled recruitment consultant can. This is a perfect example of technology and humans working together; AI will give recruiters a tool to become better at their job. As the industry continues to innovate, we’re likely to start moving into a space that sees technology doing a lot of the technical matching, and will allow recruiters to maximise their time, and put their efforts into the personalisation element of their job.

4. A demand for new skills

While some skills look set to accelerate in demand, others set to decline. A report created by the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, design, technology and programming skills will be in higher demand than ever before. It’s also interesting to note how crucial a role soft skills are going to play; analytical thinking, creativity, originality, and initiative were cited as some of the most attractive skills going forward. This re-enforces the fact that when heading into a more innovative space, those with the ability to think outside of the box and drive forward new strategies can position themselves as pioneers and enjoy success.  

On the other end of the spectrum, skills such as time management, technology installation, and manual dexterity all look set to decline; this clearly supports the idea that automation is set to replace lower level tasks. As the demand for digital and technology-focussed skills rise, professionals across science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, can expect to enjoy a whole new world of opportunities. What’s even more interesting is that according to McKinsey & Company, by the time we reach 2030, around 10% of jobs in existence will be brand new, and don’t exist now.

5. A change in occupations

Interestingly, according to McKinsey & Company, 3% of the global workforce will be looking to change occupations by 2030, with shifts happening across companies, sectors, and geographies. Jobs that are made up of physical activities within structured environments, or roles to do with data processing and inputting, will likely see a decline. This is supported by the World Economic Forum’s report, who predict that data entry clerks, accounting, payroll, and booking jobs will experience the largest decline. The types of job that will likely grow as technology advances are those that will be difficult to automate, and require personalisation or human intelligence to function; with roles such as data analysts, scientists, AI and machine learning specialists expected to enjoy significant growth. Within this shifting world of people moving across occupations, geographies, sectors, and industries, where can we expect a lot of people to move to? STEM.

With varying opportunities arising across a range of industries, it’s going to be interesting to see the various opportunities created by the changing landscape of STEM markets. How do you think AI will impact the world of work? Are you excited about the opportunities available within your industry? If so let us know your thoughts! We want to hear from you