It’s not science fiction anymore, machines are actually taking over some of our jobs. They can drive our cars, trade stock, and even make our drinks. So what do humans do when they find their jobs in danger?  The answer is simple–reskill.

With the coming of new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics that are changing the dynamics in the job market, experts say that employers now prefer candidates who have upgraded their skills and are comfortable with new-age tools.

Consulting firm McKinsey estimates that between 400 million and 800 million individuals could be displaced by automation and need to find new jobs by 2030 around the world. And, out of the total displaced, 75 million to 375 million may need to switch occupational categories and learn new skills.

“Companies are unable to find talent in the right space. There is an unfulfilled demand for the right skill set in the job market and there are job seekers who have generic skills. Those with generic skills will be in a lot of trouble in next few years,” says Zairus Master, CEO of job portal

A 2018 report–Reskilling and Indian Workforce, says that industries such as IT and software, banking, finance, e-commerce, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, media and entertainment, retail and manufacturing face an acute shortage of talent.

“It is not about jobs but specific skills required for any job, and that is changing rapidly. For instance, even an insurance salesman, who is not tech savvy, would find himself without meaningful opportunities for employment over the next few years,” says HR expert Bimal Rath, founder and managing director of Think Talent Services.

So what are the skills that are becoming redundant? According to Rath, skills such as basic coding and engineering will be done by AI in most cases, while documentation and basic analytic jobs will largely get automated. “Most jobs will require a new set of skills, including front-end jobs,” he says.

Interestingly, while companies realise that their existing workforce needs to be upgraded to meet the demands brought about by changing technologies, time and cost factors deter them from doing so. Employers also fear that employees will want to find better jobs once they have acquired new skills.

“Attrition will always remain a part of the industry. And for companies to stay relevant in the changing times, they need to invest in their workforce which includes new training and certification,” Master says.

Experts also suggested that as reskilling is gaining steam, companies will look beyond their permanent employees to get their work done.

“We are looking at an expanded eco-system to get work done beyond permanent employees–new approaches to managing temporary workers, short term assignments (even hourly), skill and project based roles, and in general a move to the gig economy, will pick up in the coming years,” noted Rath.

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