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Employers Will Continue to Ramp Up Robotic Workforce in 2017

A new 2017 Talent Trends Report from talent solutions company Randstad Sourceright finds 25% of businesses have ramped up automation and robotics in the past 12 months. Let's go through the motions as robots come to take all our jobs!

That's right: the robotic revolution is in full swing. As we talk about bringing jobs back, we're somehow not talking about those sneaky robots who never need sick days, never complain, never make a mess in the break room, never ask for a raise, and never ask for family leave. Robots are hard to compete with, unless you're a complete workaholic who never misses a day of work.


So what are employers' thoughts on issues ranging from talent to technology in 2017? Randstad looked into it and predicts change in the following key areas:

Talent Mobilization: Eighty-one percent of companies surveyed say that talent scarcity will affect their business, and 70 percent have rising expectations of their workers.

Embracing Technology: Seventy-seven percent say they are making an appropriate level of investments in talent innovation, with 47 percent spending money on recruiting marketing and video interview platforms.

The Freelance Economy: Seventy percent say that freelancers are influencing their business, while 50 percent say the freelance economy is driving growth.

Employer Branding: Almost one-third of those surveyed believe that an employer with a visible brand presence will be their biggest competitor for talent acquisition, and 40 percent say they plan to increase spending on employer branding over the next 12 months.

HR Digitalization: Thirty-nine percent of leaders believe digitalization of HR will have a great influence on business, and 71 percent say talent analytics play a critical role in sourcing, attracting, engaging and retaining talent.

I've blogged about the rise of the "agile workforce." Agile = freelance. Do you know that more than two-thirds of employers plan to go "agile"-only by 2025? Time will tell if the majority of the U.S. workforce will adapt to the life of a freelancer, which is rife with unpredictability.

One thing is certain, though: employers secretly love employees who can work efficiently like robots! In 2015, consulting firm The Energy Project and the Harvard Business Review studied a group of 20,000 employees. They concluded that employers are, in fact, trying to make employees work more like...machines.

Now technologists are discussing the ethics of mixing robots with real, live humans on the job, and what could go wrong when they don't get along.

As we lurch toward a plug-and-play workforce full of freelance employees drifting from one gig to another, we will need to revise the employer-employee-robot compact. That is, when we're not hiding from Betty the Robotic Office Manager. Here she comes. Everybody look busy, okay?

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