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In a society that is increasingly directed by advanced technology, there is a widening gap between worker skills and the positions that are being created. We foresaw this gap back in January, and the future is now.

In our Technology Practice, we have received an increased demand for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Automation Process (RPA) Specialists, or RPA Configurators, Developers, and Enterprise Architects.

Why is this happening? According to a Gartner report, business stakeholders are excited by the potential of a tool that will reduce costs, increase accuracy, improve compliance, and automate work in a fraction of the time and cost of typical IT software deployments. However, the high expectations of RPA are matched by confusion over the capabilities of these automation tools. Understanding the functionality of RPA versus AI is challenging, as business and information technology professionals are muddling the terminology, potential, and reality of a new swathe of tools. Separating the capabilities from the buzzwords is important here. Achieving high results without the risk of human error is a huge incentive for these investments in robotic intelligence. Rules-based processes create AI that learns on the job, persistently increasing efficiency and allowing the automation of processes that were previously manual-only tasks.

How does this change the workforce? Forbes articulates that “your next entry-level compliance staffer will be a robot.” Backed up by a recent Forrester report, we will see a surge in white-collar automation, half a million new digital workers (bots) in the U.S., and a shift from manual to automated IT and data management. Companies need to master automation to work smarter and succeed in their industries.

In 2018, 9% of U.S. jobs will be lost to automation, partially offset by a 2% growth in jobs that support the “automation economy.” This will specifically impact back-office and administrative roles, sales, and call center employees. A wide range of technologies, from RPA and AI to customer self-service portals and physical robots will greatly impact hiring and staffing strategies. Workforce regeneration is nothing new, the Industrial Revolution spurred an ever-changing market fixed on improvement. The key is to adapt with the times. A changing environment creates a need for new skillsets.

Automation and AI are interesting subjects will dominate business reading for years to come. As Human Resource executives and business leaders learn the benefits of RPA and AI, we’ll see another shift in the skills needed to meet the growing demands of business.

Insight Talent Solutions is a Technology Recruitment firm. Our Information Systems Practice serves clients who seek talent in Robotic Process Automation and Artificial Intelligence.