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How will industry 4.0 affect recruitment?

July 12, 2018
Gareth Whyatt

The fourth industrial revolution is well and truly upon us and the change has happened fast; but have industries been quick enough to adapt?

Moreover, how is automation impacting recruitment across food manufacturing, FMCG and engineering roles – and what are the primary concerns as new technologies take hold?

Assembly and Production Line Job Decline

The most notable effect of this industrial upheaval will come in the disappearance of traditional blue-collar work, as those at the forefront of production lose roles to automation. While this may strike fear into workers who have been on the front line for years, the reality is hopefully more optimistic.

For organisations to navigate the change, the most effective strategy could be in retraining the existing workforce. As in doing so, manufacturers can retain knowledge of their internal systems, while growing the skills-base as new processes evolve. Coupled with a strategic hiring process to plug skills gaps as and when they appear, it could be a case of jobs created, rather than work destroyed.

Technically Sophisticated Roles

Where the Production Line Manager disappears, roles such as Industrial Data Scientist, Solutions Architect, or Specialist UI Designer will materialise to handle the newly-optimised manufacturing floor – such jobs will focus less on the repetitive nature of production; instead, calling on problem-solvers to take the helm.

In the same way that Data Scientists emerged in the dawning of the computer age, so will similarly specific roles arrive with manufacturing – in all likelihood calling for inventive methods in marketing these previously unknown positions.

Capabilities Over Qualifications

No-one can have experience for a role that’s never existed; so, how do you fill the position of Industrial Data Scientist? You step back from looking at what individuals have done; instead, analysing skills they have built.

This might take an element of creative application in reimagining how the Chemical Engineer can re-apply her know-how to the context of New Product Optimisation, but it’s nothing short of the trading floor scouting quants and PhD’s to fuel their money-printing machines.

The modern world of work is more dynamic than ever: recruiters, employers and employees alike will have to demonstrate flexibility if they’re ever to find the perfect fit for the unknown.

Cross-Industry Collaboration

The most significant opportunity could rest in the scope for collaboration: governments, industry and recruiters will have to communicate more than ever to recognise where skills shortages could appear, then establish training schemes and job specifications to prepare economies for the change.

While we are all scared of the unknown, we should be motivated by the opportunity to innovate as we’re given a near-blank canvas in what comes next. Leveraging past experience becomes crucial in scoping future requirements as, even if the future cannot be predicted, it can certainly be modelled on what has come before.

So; flexibility, an open mind, a willingness to collaborate, and creative application in the formulation of new job specs will determine how successful recruiters are.

How to work out the compensation package – now, there’s a conversation.

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About The Author

Gareth Whyatt

After 12 years’ experience within the industry predominantly focusing on Operations and Supply Chain, founding The Sterling Choice has provided me with the opportunity to take a step back and focus on my passion for developing people and teams! As the self-proclaimed Head of Training I love seeing people develop and grow through the recruitment ranks and ultimately achieving both their personal and business goals.

For me The Sterling Choice is all about fun, results and collective success

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