How Will Robotic Process Automation Impact Job Growth?

When robotic process automation (RPA) first arrived as a viable alternative to human information sorting, there was a general fear that many people would be out of employment due to being “replaced by robots”. However, as the RPA sector has grown, the negative outcomes many feared haven’t come to fruition. In fact, giving “menial” and mundane jobs to robots has introduced many new opportunities for higher human productivity and function.

What is RPA?

Robotic Process Automation, or RPA, refers to the completion of digital system interaction tasks with little or no human intervention. This can include tasks like running reports—RPA can identify and extract data based on a predetermined criteria. Software robots are able to complete keystrokes, identify what’s on a screen, navigate software and systems, and complete any number of defined actions. RPA has the ability to get a lot of work done in a very short time, with the added benefit of eliminating human error.

So Robots Haven’t Created Any Job Loss?

Well, no. That’s not quite accurate. It’s true that people working in unskilled careers may have already had their positions taken over by RPA, or see it happening on the horizon. However, the long term employment benefits of RPA outweigh the short term disadvantages.

As with any new offering, businesses and developers are constantly looking for new ways to increase the productivity of software robots and create more intelligent systems. The field of computer science and software engineering is seeing steady year-over-year growth as more and more people upgrade their knowledge from unskilled labor or a separate field to software development. As RPA becomes more widespread, the profits of the businesses and organizations using these automated processes is only expected to grow further. This, in turn, puts money back into the economy which creates avenues for more job openings and growth!

Aren’t Humans Just As Capable As Robots?

In a word: no. While human brains are astonishing supercomputers in their own right, the fact is that human beings require time to accomplish tasks. Sifting through spreadsheets or lists to pick out relevant information is a time-consuming process for a person. Software robots are able to sort through that information and pull out the salient data in a matter of seconds, and compile it into a useful report for human comprehension. There is simply no comparison between the speed of a robot and the speed of a person.

So… Do We Bring Anything To the Table?

Luckily, our real value still shines through in critical thinking and decision making. While robots are able to find information quickly, they lack something significant which is crucial in our world—the ability to make thoughtful decisions and reasonable judgments. RPA frees up human brainpower to give us the bandwidth to absorb information and take steps based on what we understand. When software robots are taking care of all the time-consuming tasks, we have the freedom to focus on application and new ideas. 

While there’s been a lot of nail-biting and fear-mongering regarding the future of human employment due to RPA, the reality is that software robots can’t replace the ability of humans to cast vision and make thoughtful, informed decisions. The usefulness of RPA is in freeing up our extraordinary brains to focus on more important work. If you’re interested in learning more about RPA, or in developing the skills necessary to embrace change and growth in your life, get in touch with me! I’m passionate about helping people discover their “Maestro Mindset” and can’t wait to connect with you.

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