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Digitization: How will we work in the future?

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More and more machines, more and more technology ... For ordinary employees, the future promises and progresses digitalization especially repression. This is how it predicts study after study. “Not true,” say three Deloitte economists. In your opinion, digitization is not a one-way street, but even creates new jobs. But which? And which ones are actually threatened by digitization? How will we work in the future? Everything you need to know about digitization ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Definition: digitization simply explained

Originally - and still existed in this sense - digitization meant the Transformation of analog data and values ​​into digital formats. Examples of such digitization are clocks - from analog displays with pointers to digital ones with numbers.

Or old data carriers such as records, music cassettes, video cassettes that have been replaced by CDs and USB sticks. On the other hand, digitization is a media buzzwordthat can mean very different things. For example, it can mean that ...

  • Machines, robots and computers take over the tasks of humans.
  • Production processes in the factory be automated and digitized.
  • The Dissemination of information or goods takes place via digital channels.
  • Branches of digital business models be disruptively turned inside out.
  • New jobs arise due to or as a result of digitization.
  • Digital skills play an increasingly important role in certain occupations and on the labor market as a whole.

Instead of digitization (English: digitization) is also from the digital revolution the speech. Both terms exist in analogy to industrialization or the industrial revolution.

The difference between digitization and industrialization on the one hand and digital or industrial revolution on the other hand, there is the fact that one describes a rather creeping process, the other assumes sudden changes.

And that is also the great fear of many: Digitization is happening and it will be suddenly left behind.

Examples of digitization in Germany

There are examples where digitization is merely the one described above Transformation into other formats means. In many places in Germany things are still going on as they were 20 or 30 years ago - the data carrier may have changed, but real life is analogous.

In other cases, it goes much further: modern watches can not only display the time, but also contain apps that are connected to your smartphone. In general, the smartphone is a good example of how various functions bundled in one device. It is a telephone, alarm clock, camera, radio and music data carrier in one; You can use it to track your fitness and set reminders for appointments.

That is by no means that Potential of digital opportunities exhausted; Fitness trackers nowadays give you an overview of how much you have run and how many calories have been consumed. You can measure your pulse and provide information about your physical condition.

Digitization means information networking. A horror scenario for data protectionists would be if the information obtained were transmitted to your health insurance company, for example. On the one hand, these data may make predictions about the likelihood of a heart attack or obesity possible timely countermeasures or intervention allow and are helpful.

On the other hand there would be one Use to your disadvantage The door and gate open - health insurances could come up with the idea of ​​prescribing a certain lifestyle or sports program for you, or otherwise increasing the membership fees.

Digitization in business and society

Regardless of whether you use a smartphone or a fitness tracker: digitization has long since taken place countless areas criss-crossed and above all worldwide. And there are already clear social consequences: The election of the American President Donald Trump and the outcome of the British referendum (“Brexit”) can be traced back to influences from social media channels.

In this way, not only an immediate, but also an indirect one Effects of digitization observe. What does that mean for the world of work?

"Around 47 percent of jobs in the USA will be redundant." That was the position in a 2013 study by Oxford economists Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne. The Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) then transferred the calculations to Germany and came to the conclusion that in this country 42 percent of all activities are at risk.

Indeed, the signs of one are mounting gradual takeover of machines, in research and in everyday life. Machines are getting smarter and better and are taking on more and more tasks. Some examples:

  • Amazon and others are carrying out field tests with delivery drones; in Rwanda and Ghana, people in inaccessible areas are already being supplied with drugs by delivery drones.
  • Automobile manufacturers and service providers want road traffic too self-driving cars revolutionize.
  • So-called Concierge robot can be used in hotels at the reception or as an assistant.
  • Drones are also used in the fight against illegal fishing and poachers Monitoring of maritime protection zones and national parks used.
  • A Berlin startup called Leverton has one software developed, which reads complex contracts, for example when buying a property.

Overall, tasks can be mastered that are currently still by Postmen and parcel carriers, taxi drivers, receptionists, park rangers and lawyers be taken over.

They will all now superfluous? Some probably yes, some not. Many could also focus on their core competencies and let machines take over unpopular routine tasks.

Another The advantage is the flexibility: Thanks to the Internet, you can often do your own work from home; Further training no longer necessarily has to take place on site: Home office and e-learning are becoming a matter of course. But things are not only changing for the employee:

Digitization enables virtual teams - This in turn means that superiors do not usually see their team members. This is where digital leadership is required, i.e. executives who have the necessary media skills and can accompany the team through the digital transformation process.

Increasing employment despite digital change

The economists Ian Stewart, Debapratim De and Alex Cole from Deloitte are heading in a different direction. In a working paper you show that the automation of the economy also has positive consequences, a creative destruction, can lead.

Your basic thesis: Progressive machinization ensures greater growth. This leads to higher incomes, which in turn are spent on new types of services. And then arise in these areas new jobs.

To do this, they traced labor market and census data from England and Wales back to 1871. In their work, they do not put forward vague, unverifiable theses about a possible future, but show how that Replacing human labor with machines in the past has had an impact and created new jobs.

Work in nursing professions1,1 %12,2 %
Work with muscle power23,7 % 8,3 %
[Source: England and Wales Census records, Deloitte]

Take agriculture as an example: In 1871, 6.6 percent of all workers in England and Wales were still working in fields and meadows. Their share had fallen to 0.2 percent by 2011 - a decrease of 95 percent. Muscle strength has been replaced through tractors, combine harvesters, milking machines.

The same goes for the manufacturing area. Shortly after the Second World War, in 1948, 38 percent of all employees in England and Wales were still employed in manufacturing. In 2012 it was just eight percent (in Germany, however, this share is still almost 20 percent today - a clear competitive advantage for many economists).

However, overall employment increased.

The authors also deliver a nice one historical case study: In 1901 there were 32.5 million people in England and Wales, of whom 200,000 were full-time Washing clothes - a tedious, time-consuming affair at the time.

In 2011, out of a total population of 56.1 million, only 35,000 people worked in this area - mainly in laundromats and large laundries. There is no longer any need for human labor in times of inexpensive automatic washing machines.

These jobs have a future

Better technology leads to leaner work processes, falling prices. This applies to laundry, groceries and TV sets, which are becoming more and more affordable. Result: Consumers stand up more money for other services to disposal. Even for those who don't even exist yet.

For example, for services in the beauty sector. 1871 came for each hair stylist or barber in England and Wales 1,793 other citizens, today there are only 287 for each.

Even today, there are many indications that the hairdresser is a profession with a future remains. Do hairdressers no routine activities, have to respond to the individual wishes of their customers again and again. No robot can do that, not even in the medium term.

Good conditions to Halfway spared from digitization to stay. In any case, according to the Deloitte authors, the work of the future will be shaped by the following properties and characteristics:

  • Social interaction
  • empathy
  • Creativity and special skills

Which Job profiles have gained in importance in the last 20 to 25 years? And which almost went under.

The working paper provides these figures for this purpose:

Technological Change: These professions have been winning in England and Wales since 1992
jobEmployment 1992Employment 2014Change since 1992
Total employment24.746.88130.537.415+23 %
Nurses, nursing assistants29.743300.201+909 %
Teachers, educational professions72.320491.669+580 %
Business consultants, economic analysts40.458188.081+365 %
IT manager110.946327.272+195 %
Social work, youth welfare, community service82.921234.462+183 %
Home care, elderly care, child care296.029792.003+168 %
Actors, dancers, presenters, producers, directors47.764122.229+156 %
[Source: Labor Force Survey, Deloitte]
Technological change: These professions have been losing out in England and Wales since 1992
jobEmployment 1992Employment 2014Change since 1992
Shoe and leather goods trade40.7157.528-82 %
Weber, knitwear manufacturer24.0094.961-79 %
Metal workers39.95012.098-70 %
Typists123.04852.580-57 %
Secretaries90.47643.181-52 %
Power plant workers19.8239.652– 51 %
Agricultural worker135.81768.164-50 %
[Source: Labor Force Survey, Deloitte]

The question is not just to what extent the various forecasts will be correct. But also how we as employees deal with it: everyone worries Horror scenarios for profound insecurity? To fear we actually before losing a job or before the change?

Is the digital transformation a cause for concern?

The Pew Research Center looked into this question and interviewed over 2,000 Americans.

Accordingly, count in the USA, the Pioneering country of automation, meanwhile 65 percent of the population with the fact that in the next 50 years machines will “definitely” or “probably” take over a large part of the work that is still done by humans today.

Result: Around 15 percent say this will "definitely" happen, for 50 percent it will "probably" happen. At least 25 percent believe that this will "probably not" happen, and seven percent are even convinced that it will "definitely not" happen.

The paradox: a lot more of them, namely 80 percent, believe that their own job will still be in 50 years the same or in almost unchanged form will exist.

No trace of digitization.

Around 36 percent of Americans even say that their current job will “definitely” still exist in its current form in five decades, and 44 percent say it “probably” will. Twelve percent, however, suspect that it will “probably not” exist anymore, six percent say that it will “definitely not” exist anymore.

Interesting: People under 50 are more skeptical about this Progress of digitization concerns. For example, 35 percent of 18- to 49-year-olds say it is unlikely that robots and computers will take over most of the human work, compared with only 27 percent of those over 50. Probably there is also a little Job optimism behind, after all, the younger ones have significantly more years of work ahead of them.

Also People with a higher level of education Are less afraid of automation: 37 percent of those surveyed with a college degree do not believe that machines will largely take over this, compared with 28 percent of those without a college degree. Also a high income lulls Americans to a safe place.

Thirty-eight percent of Americans with annual household incomes above $ 75,000 do not expect digitization to take work away from people on a large scale, compared with 27 percent of those with household incomes below $ 30,000.

What the Americans fear

All in all, the fear of Americans can still be described as very weak to vague. When asked what their job could cost them, only eleven percent answered with “machines and computers”. Much greater is the fear of the immediate future - of cheaper competitors in the job market abroad, from mismanagement or from macro trends in the respective industry.

Specifically, these are the biggest concerns:

  1. 26 percent worry that if their company is poorly run, they may lose their job.
  2. 22 percent fear job loss because their industry could weaken.
  3. 20 percent fear that their employer might find a new employee to take over the job for a lower salary.
  4. 13 percent are concerned that their technical skills may not be able to keep up to stay competitive on the job.
  5. 11 percent fear that their employer could replace human labor with machines or computers.

Digitization: Interview with Joël Luc Cachelin

How changed digitization the economy? What is she doing to us humans? And how do we have to meet it? Questions that arise Joël Luc Cachelin asked more than once. The Swiss studied and did his doctorate at the University of St. Gallen. Since 2009 he has been the managing director of the Wissensfabrik, a consulting firm for "digital transformation".

Mr. Cachelin, have you been on Facebook today?

Yes, I go to Facebook a lot, maybe too often. It is a time pass and also an important marketing tool for my knowledge factory. In the last few months it has also developed into an important information medium. The users and institutions whose news I receive take on a filter function. I am already aware that algorithms help determine what comes to me.

I ask because you are basically very skeptical about digitization.

First of all, I am a big advocate of the digital society. The Internet brings great achievements with it. It makes our lives easier, more intense, enables us to use our resources more efficiently and creates new forms of intelligence. I live very digitally. But it also brings with it new dangers. These are not always visible and it is important to me that opportunities and dangers are considered at the same time. For example, digitization brings new forms of surveillance or economic seduction. In addition, the digital society is very resource-intensive. As a society, we have to more actively control which digital society we want to live in.

In your book “Offliner” you describe 16 offline types, for example decelerators, romantics and privacy advocates. What type are you?

The book is less of a typology in the sense of 'You are that' and 'I am that'. It was more important to me to show that there are different motives for being skeptical about increasing digitization. So I think we are all partly offline.The different motifs mix, so the typology is not clear-cut.

Like many others, they warn of the loss of jobs that would be taken over by robots and machines in the future. In your opinion, which characteristics, in new German: skills, will be particularly important for those who have stayed behind in the approaching world of work?

I think that all skills will become more important that allow me as an individual to move independently in a digitally networked society. So it's about a comprehensive self-competence that starts with self-reflection and continues with self-management and self-confidence. Communication skills are also important, including self-marketing and networking. The ability to ask questions also seems important to me. This is a central skill that has so far set us apart from machines.

What advice would you give to a student deciding what to study, what to study, or what kind of education to do?

Many future professions and activities will change as a result of machines. The future elite will probably be composed of the people who develop the machines and manage the interaction between people and machines. Specifically, it is about robotics, programming and statistics, but also all management activities, some with an economic focus, others with a more social or playful focus. The more machines are introduced, the more the craft will experience a renaissance. So why not learn a Schumacher or a gardener.

And which jobs or professions do you think have no future?

I think all professions and job profiles are coming under pressure. On the one hand, professions and positions are changing ever faster. One can also speak of the end of the job or the end of the job. In their place are competence sets or the ability to change. Most of us will do several jobs in several companies in the future and will also have different activities. All activities will disappear where we as a society decide that they can be better done by machines. This can affect employees at checkouts, in call centers, ticket controllers, chauffeurs, surgeons and pilots. Ultimately, it is also a question of social acceptance of what we want to delegate to machines.

You also write that corporate governance and management have to change radically as a result of digitization. In what way?

Digitization is putting numerous industries under pressure. This is already noticeable in many places, in other places such as banks, insurance companies, but also retailers or mobility providers, people still pretend nothing is changing. Companies have to change and adapt much faster than before, otherwise they will shrink massively or die completely. In addition, the machines are changing the role of people in the value creation process. I don't just mean robots, but also automata, algorithms and drones. People are left with creative and critical thinking, recognizing needs, fears and hopes, expressing and reinforcing emotions. Ultimately, Generation Y brings new expectations to companies in terms of freedom, IT and working conditions. Many companies seem to be challenged by this threefold change, if not overwhelmed.

Which pages or services on the Internet can you personally no longer do without?

For me, the Swiss daily newspapers are important to keep me informed about world events. I do most of the trend research on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, it doesn't work without a search engine. I also find virtual storages like Dropbox, Icloud, Spotify and Netflix important to be able to access all files from anywhere. So I am an ordinary user who uses the dominant players in the digital infrastructure and does not deal enough with alternatives. Whereby it always depends on how you use things. I can use Facebook to publish cat pictures, which I do, or just call for critical reflection on the Internet.

What will you do for a living in 20 years?

Digitization will remain my core topic. I will probably continue to inspire, accompany and advise companies in the digital transformation process. Digitization is far from over, it has only just begun. We are currently in the process of moving to another - the digital - dimension. That requires a lot of planning, change and reflection. Personally, I really enjoy the books because I can live out and share this reflection here. Next, I will devote myself to the religious dimension of digitization.

Mr. Cachelin, thank you for talking to us.

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