Self-service machines and self-driving lorries are usually the centre of conversation when talking about the effects of technology in the job market. However, if you take an innovative IT recruitment agency as an example, you can begin to see how the landscape is set to change on a very fundamental level. Literally any company with a significant amount of data can benefit from developing machine learning models to optimise forecasting (sales, marketing, employee attendance, etc.), for example.
One major effect technology is having is the ability to work remotely. Communication in the workplace is becoming ever-more digitised through apps such as Slack, making working remotely even more accessible. Countries (particularly in the EU) are looking to implement a four-day working week, too. It’s becoming more apparent that turning up each weekday in an office, wasting hours each week on commuting, small talk, lunch breaks and filling up the last hour of work with unnecessary email-checking is becoming obsolete. There are now even fewer reasons to conform to this idea given how efficient working from home can be.
Recruitment processes will also follow suit – in fact, they’re at the forefront of this trend. Many agencies will merely use Skype to hold conversations with customers looking for a job, as opposed to calling them into the office. This is partly because many of the jobs are remote, and partly because it means the recruitment agency themselves can become remote (letterbox agencies are plentiful).
Such progress in technology, however, poses some ethical threats to employees. A reliance on technology usually means there is an increased opportunity for surveillance. Companies could be tempted into monitoring employees more closely (because they have greater access to their conversations via email, for example) which will cause serious privacy concerns. The issue is that if the messages are sent through the work system, employers are entitled to monitor them. It is entirely plausible that companies with a large workforce will have an AI model that can detect any employees showing a lack of focus.
It’s also possible that companies will be enticed into tracking productivity through other means, such as detecting an overuse in leisure applications or perhaps an alert when a keyboard hasn’t been used in X minutes. Generally there are just as many positive changes coming from technology as there are negatives. Automation can enhance productivity and work hand-in-hand with employees just as much as it works against them.
Transparency of the Job Market
The reason why negative progressions tend to be less overwhelming than positives is because the job market is becoming increasingly transparent. Online reviews of employees’ experiences at previous jobs are becoming a huge factor in where people want to work. This means ex-employees are somewhat dictating the job market for firms. An abundance of benefits and a laissez-faire work environment is becoming an integral indicator for companies to show they will have trust in employees and gain better reviews. Ultimately, technology has put more transparency into the job market for this reason. It’s becoming easier to tell whether a company will fulfil their promises and if the job is really what it states in the job listing.