Some projections for what the auto industry will look like in 2030 miss a key point: The future of work is already here. Even as 78% of CEOs fret about recruiting enough properly skilled talent, almost three in four workers are open to learning new skills.
“The future of work is about today. This isn’t happening in 2030,” John Karren said Wednesday at the fifth annual MICHauto Summit sponsored by the Detroit Regional Chamber.
Karren, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, summarized findings from the consulting firm’s “Workforce of the Future: The Competing Forces Shaping 2030,” saying business and technology models have outpaced innovation in talent. He said 47% of job categories and 40% of tasks will be automated in the next dozen years, but the workforce itself is resilient.
“Think about when automated tellers first came out. Everyone predicted the end of banks, yet every other new building where I live is either a bank or a Walgreens,” he said. “People work in banks right alongside the machines.”
The fear factor around jobs lost to technology is up slightly to 37% compared with 33% in 2014, but Karren said “jobs are not the workforce.” Four in 10 jobs today are nontraditional positions held by contractors or freelancers who make up the so-called gig economy.
“What the data shows is a positive direction for the auto industry” with Michigan aggressively promoting automotive career paths, he said.
MICHauto’s 2017 Automobility Career Perception Survey, also released Wednesday, bears this out. The fourth most-associated phrase describing the industry among 450 influencers – including parents, guidance counselors and youth leaders – was “innovative.” In 2014, the term “dead/declining” occupied that position. Of Michigan youth aged 17-24 surveyed, 53% said they would consider an automotive career in the state. That compared with 39% in 2014.
The survey, conducted by Research America, found 40% of Michigan-based influencers had a strong or somewhat strong understanding of the types of auto mobility careers compared with 26% of non-Michigan influencers.
“The word is getting out,” said Amy Benner, operations/project development director for Research America. “It is reaching the influencers here.”