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The impact of RPA on our labour markets

The expected cost savings of RPA are dramatic and will be hard to ignore, but RPA will have a significant impact on labour markets, leading to a change in hiring strategy and the mix of staffing required. In the short term RPA will enable job transformation – not job replacement.

In processes where RPA is introduced, a number of staff will become available to be deployed on non- routine roles. Service providers will, in most cases, want to retain their staff as best as possible and explore various options of doing so. These include:

  1. Re-skilling existing FTEs on new roles and job responsibilities (people skilled in implementing, managing and maintaining robots) through learning and development programmes (in-house or through partnerships with specialised RPA consultancy firms).
  2. Partnering with reputed global or regional engineering and technology institutions to embed advanced IT skills in existing curricula which their staff may then be considered for.
  3. Staff reduction strategies will also be required where staff members are not able to be trained for other roles, to ensure the service providers maintain competitiveness.

Service providers will also need to review their strategies for new hires. There will be a shift from hiring low-skilled resources to more qualified professionals e professionals will benefit from having experience in disruptive technology domains including automation, process improvement, governance and compliance, cloud, mobility, analytics and social media

Impact of RPA on onshore market – short to medium term

Short to medium term

  • Increased in-sourcing of functions and processing
  • High-volume, transaction roles to become redundant (low level, low skill)
  • Need for operational and lower to middle management roles to manage, report on and configure the robotic process

Long term

  • Changing business models – more functional areas are expected to come under the purview of RPA as maturity, scale and platform functionality enhancements continue to grow
  • Considerable replacement of humans by robot applications on both routine and non-routine, manual and cognitive tasks
  • More robots would be employed onshore as earlier sensitive and untouchable processes can now be made more cost effective
  • As the focus shifts to a small number of higher valueadding roles, HR will increasingly have to re-structure employment contracts, agreements and work/skill requirements including appraisals and rewards and recognition structures with staff in impacted areas
  • Re-deploying human resources (who are displaced by RPA platforms) on non-routine process roles in IT or other internal functional areas (e.g. experts in process automation, continuous improvements)
Impact of RPA on offshore market – short to medium term

Short to medium term

  • Elimination of high volume, repetitive, rule-based job roles impacting low-skilled workforce
  • Increased cross-training or up-skilling of FTEs on new job roles and responsibilities through internal training programs, especially in offshore delivery locations such as India, Philippines and select provider markets in Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Long term

  • Re-deploying human resources (who are displaced by RPA platforms) on non-routine process roles in IT or other internal functional areas (e.g. experts in process automation, continuous improvements) through in-house re-skilling and cross training initiatives (primarily for lower management roles)
  • Realigning middle management supervisory roles with other roles including managing client relationships, monitoring and managing the RPA environments or robot applications and associated support teams, e.g. to update, test and oversee the performance of the software robots, meeting changing business needs.
FTE impact post RPA implementation

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