Jan 19, 2022

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. Are you staying one step ahead?

Over the past decade, an eruption of new technologies has fired rapid change and expansion in the job landscape.

Notably, the Covid 19 pandemic has added fuel to the rising flames by increasing our reliance on technology and bringing the fourth industrial revolution into a not-so-distant future. Some may say it is already upon us.

No one can dispute the job landscape has been drastically changed by the relentless evolution of technology and with each new generation entering the workforce. What were, once, considered safe and stable roles have now become redundant while completely new roles have emerged.  

Consider positions like Digital Marketing Specialist, People and Culture Advisor, Social Media Manager and Big Data Analyst. These are all roles that didn't exist ten years ago and yet have become vital to organisations today. In light of the seismic shifts we’ve been experiencing, have you stopped to consider how this will affect your business? What about the kinds of roles you will need to recruit for in 10 years?

Job design is a vital aspect of recruiting and should be the first step when setting out to fill new roles for a growing business. If you are good at what you do, you already have a long-term business plan in place. But does this plan also address how your people will grow and shift into the next generation with you? Research shows that ensuring employees are in a well-designed job increases their productivity and job satisfaction while decreasing absenteeism and employee turnover.

So, with that in mind, which roles are soon going to be a thing of the past?

According to The Future of Jobs report 2020, the following roles are decreasing in demand due to automation (click here to check out the complete list):

  • Administrative and Executive Secretaries
  • Accounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
  • Assembly and Factory Workers
  • General and Operations Managers
  • Financial Analysts

If your heart is pumping away as you read through that list because your role is on it or those of your staff are, fear not! Many new positions have also come from the surge in automation, technology, and the shift in organisational culture we’ve been witnessing as successive generations enter the workforce.

These new roles include, but are not limited to:

  • Data Analysts and Scientists
  • Digital Marketing and Strategy Specialists
  • Software and Applications Developers
  • Organisational Development Specialists
  • Strategic Advisors

Where do you go from here as an employer? Firstly, as you start working through your businesses plans over the next few years, assess how AI could work into your development plans. From there, you will be able to see which staff could be misplaced by the transition and what roles you will need to fill with new or existing (human) staff. Starting this process early will allow you to work with your team to help train them towards these roles, ensuring a smoother transition for all involved. 

For employees, you’ll need to do your research to stay ahead of the game! Think critically about how your current career path may be affected by the push for automation and AI in the workplace. And take heart, as there will still be plenty of opportunities to continue to use your skills, interests and passions to progress your career on the desired course.

The fourth industrial revolution doesn't have to be the demise of humans in the workplace. With transparent and open discussions, a solid plan in place and the flexibility to adapt, this could be an incredible space for innovation, progression and growth for you and your business. 


Rikki Somerville,

Campaign Manager / Assistant Operations Manager