Man or machine, who will get the jobs of the future? FactorDaily seeks the answer

Pankaj Mishra November 3, 2016 3 min

We believe that technology is beginning to go mainstream in India, shaping the future of individuals, organisations, and the country as a whole. We started FactorDaily to make sense of of this disruption.

Earlier this year, we realised that technology is either disrupting or transforming jobs and work in India, just like it is in the rest of the world.

But, as with everything, there is a unique India cut to this transition. After all, India is home to the world’s youngest people among large nations — our median age is around 27, two out of three Indians are 35 or younger, and a million Indians celebrate their 18th birthday every month, ready to join the workforce.

In this context, the takeover, if you will, of existing jobs in software services, back-office, and low-end manufacturing by self-learning software, robots or other forms of automation will have huge implications for the economy and the society. That will just be the beginning as automation spreads to other sectors in the economy.

McKinsey researchers last year made two important submissions on the future of jobs: one, work that occupies 45% of employee time “could be automated by adapting currently available or demonstrated technology”. Two, less than 5% of jobs could be entirely automated — that is, the entire job could be done by machine(s). While many may heave a sigh of relief at the second point, few will disagree that jobs in India, especially in areas there are multiple layers of inefficiency, will change as early as the next decade.

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On the other hand, there is a trend of jobs being created thanks to technology disruptions in banking and financial services, retail, transportation, and services in general — jobs that never existed before. The World Economic Forum recently threw the spotlight on work done by two US educators, Scott McLeod and Karl Fisch, who predicted that two of three children entering primary school today will work in jobs that don’t yet exist.

Our aim is simple: to make sense of technology disruptions for job seekers and job creators through stories, columns by industry experts and interviews that give you incisive views into the future

So, which jobs will survive this coming disruption, and which ones are being created? What will be the impact on unorganised labour, which accounts for over 90% of jobs in India?

Starting November 3, we are launching a new area of coverage — the Future of Jobs in India. Our aim is simple: to make sense of technology disruptions for job seekers and job creators through richly reported stories, columns by industry experts and interviews that give you incisive views into the future.

As part of this initiative, we will also organise high-end, carefully curated events, the first of which will take place on November 21, Monday, at The Leela Palace in Bengaluru. The Future of Jobs in India Summit aims to make sense of this change by bringing together the finest minds shaping the future. Thought leaders and disruptors will come together at the summit to debate ideas and share learnings on what the workplace of the future is going to be like.

We have put together a council of visionaries and disrupters — Nandan Nilekani, Vivek Wadhwa, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Sharad Sharma, Abhijit Bhaduri, Ravi Venkatesan, Rishi Das, Ashwani Asokan, Sahil Barua, Rashmi Daga, Shashank ND, TK Kurien, Shanmugam (Nags) Nagarajan — to help advise us on doing a meaningful job.

In the days ahead, we will keep you updated on the event and coverage. For any ideas or thoughts you may have on the subject, please write in to futureofjobs@factordaily.com.

Edited on November 3 at 358pm to add Rashmi Daga’s name. 

Lead visual: Nikhil Raj


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