As an industry leader, you may have faced scenarios where your team is worried about managing automation in your organization and balancing human-machine co-operation. While the fear of machines replacing humans at work has been there since the days of second Industrial Revolution, what most people fail to understand that not all chores can be efficiently carried out by machines.
In the 1970s, when ATMs had first emerged in America, bank tellers were convinced that they would have to bid their jobs goodbye. If you look at the metrics over the years, you will understand what the actual scenario was. In 1985, there were 60,000 ATMs and 485,000 bank tellers. In 2002, the numbers were 352,000 and 527,000 respectively. In the recent years, with further advent of online and mobile banking, while around 8,000+ bank branches have shut down, the number of bank employees have been stable to close to 2 million.
My point is that the role of a bank teller has not been abolished with ATMs and online banking. Only the mundane, repetitive jobs like receiving requests for cash withdrawal or deposit or transfer, verifying account balance, and processing requests are shifted from humans to machines. The cognitive, non-repetitive, interactive, and complicated jobs are in the hands of highly skilled employees.
Now let’s come to the industry I work with – the operations services sector.