4. Shift towards an integrated digital and human workforce:
4.2 Creating new jobs in hybrid industries
In time, the Industrial Internet will blur industry boundaries, or give rise to new hybrid industries, such as digital medicine, precision agriculture and smart manufacturing, to name a few. These new industries will generate new jobs. Some roles will be familiar, but will require greater analytical abilities and skills in the use of digital technology. As machines assume routine tasks, future jobs will also increasingly rely on certain unique human attributes, such as creative problem-solving, complex forms of communication, large-frame pattern recognition, collaboration and the ability to adapt to unfamiliar situations.
In smart manufacturing, for example, highly automated factories may require fewer blue-collar production workers or machine operators on the shop floors. But at the same time, there will be an increased need for more knowledge-based experts and decision-makers with digital and analytics skills to focus on tasks that cannot be automated, including system planning, engineering, exception handling, coordination and orchestration. By using robots, Marlin Steel – a custom metal products manufacturer based in Baltimore, Maryland – successfully migrated its existing workers from unsafe, routine jobs of bending metal by hand into safer, more interesting jobs of supervising robots. The net result was significantly higher productivity and quality, and the workers hourly pay was more than quadrupled. This has, in turn, led to a growing demand for Marlin Steel’s products and the hiring of 25% more workers.37
To support these hybrid industries, entirely new categories of jobs will emerge – medical robot designers, grid modernization managers, intermodal transportation network engineers and more. Most of these jobs will demand strong interdisciplinary skills, including deep knowledge about specific industry domains, new technologies, software and data skills, along with soft skills (e.g. leadership, communication, collaboration).
As more traditional companies embrace the Industrial Internet, the demand for traditional IT jobs will grow as well, to include positions in software development, big data analytics, systems integration and security. In particular, user-experience designers will be in high demand, while companies will also need more IT managers and infrastructure specialists to ensure a smooth transition as companies migrate more of their business processes into the cloud. Increasing connectivity and availability of personal data over the global network will also call for new types of security and privacy experts who can help businesses and governments manage and mitigate security risks.