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Workforce Enablement

U.S. Employers Plan to Upskill Employees in Record Numbers

Despite digitization and automation efforts, employers say they're sticking with - and investing in - their human workforce

While workers at all skill levels are looking over their shoulders wondering whether they will be soon replaced by a machine, they may find help in keeping their jobs from an unexpected ally—their employers.

In fact, a recent study by ManpowerGroup found that 91 percent of U.S. employers plan to increase or at least maintain head count as a result of automation. According to “Humans Wanted: Robots Need You,” employers are betting heavy on human-based skills to ensure workers are equipped for the automated workplace of the future. The report shows that 76 percent of employers plan to upskill their workforce by 2020, a 21 percent increase from last year.

Based on a survey of more than 1,500 employers operating in the U.S., the report found companies that are digitally transforming themselves are growing, and the digitization is increasing jobs in both number and diversity. More than one in three U.S. employers that have started their digital transformations are expecting to create more jobs in the next two years.

Interestingly, just 4 percent of those surveyed predicted they will trim jobs as a result of automation. The report also found demand for IT skills is growing rapidly and broadly: Sixteen percent of respondents said they expect IT head count to increase. That’s twice those who expect a decrease. According to the survey, production and manufacturing employers said they anticipate the most churn as new skills are created while others become outdated, leading to a net head count increase of 7 percent.

The report comes as U.S. unemployment hovers around record lows, and many surveys indicate acute skills shortages.

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