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How Employers and Employees Can Prepare for Rising Automation in Louisville

Workforce Development 07.15.19

It’s no secret that automation and artificial intelligence are the future of the workplace. But according to a new report by the Brookings Institution, the future could be here sooner than we thought, and bring sweeping changes to metropolitan areas with it.

The report claims 48.4 percent of work in Kentucky could be automated in coming years, with Louisville facing an automation potential of a slightly lower 47.9 percent. With manufacturing giants like Ford, GE Appliances, and Brown-Forman Corporation, it’s no wonder why Louisville ranks among the top tier of large cities facing the highest potential for automation impact.

Reports like this can create a doomsday outlook within manufacturing industries and even local economies, but report co-authors caution readers to remember that machines are designed to complement jobs, not necessarily replace them. Additionally, the report claims that despite automation impacting virtually all occupation groups, the effect on total net employment is expected to be relatively low.

Outlook aside, it’s clear that both employers and employees need to start making preparations for the future wave of automation.

Considerations for Employers

1. Create a plan now to ensure smoother transition later.

Regardless of your industry, automation will impact your business at some level. Start assessing potential threats or risks now and prepare accordingly.

2. Embrace the technology of automation and the growth that comes with it.

Sure, there will be tradeoffs as automation infiltrates the workplace. Once you have a plan in place to navigate the negative impacts, though, consider the ways automation and artificial intelligence could benefit your organization in the future.

3. Promote skill development, certification, and continuing education for employees.

Review employee benefits and make it feasible for your team — especially lower wage employees – to access more training or education. In addition to empowering your employees, investing in the development of both technical and soft skills will help them prepare for potential new jobs within the organization.

Considerations for Employees

1. Know your industry’s automation potential — but don’t panic.

Easier said than done, right? While no one can predict the impact of automation on each industry with complete accuracy, experts say the industries with highest impact risk include production, food service, and transportation, while more creative industries will be less affected. Prepare according to your industry.

2. Take advantage of opportunities for professional growth.

While we’ve encouraged employers to offer more training, development, and education opportunities, it’s up to employees to use those resources available to them. Seek out ways to continually learn, adapt on the job, and seek new positions within your company. Make yourself an invaluable team member who’s ready to face new challenges.

. . .

Automation has already changed the workforce landscape, and more changes are sure to come as technology continues to advance. By forging a symbiotic relationship, employers and employees can work together to secure a positive future for both organizations and the individuals that support them.

Workforce Development 07.15.19