- Automation could widen geographic disparities across America's local economies, a report from McKinsey Global Institute predicted. The report suggests that while the country's top-performing cities and most highly educated workers have pulled away from the rest of the nation, middle-wage jobs are more rare and geographic mobility is at an all-time low.
- The report analyzed 315 cities and 3,000 U.S. counties to develop its data and found that 25% of workers in 512 counties across the country have the potential to be displaced due to automation; 429 of the counties are in rural areas. In comparison, urban areas with more diversified economies would feel "less severe effects" from automation, McKinsey said.
- Employers will "be the natural providers of training and continuous learning opportunities for many workers," McKinsey said in its report, but to truly meet market needs, employers may have to align with governments, nonprofits and education providers.
The impact of AI and automation on workers has experts at odds; some say there will be a net gain in jobs, while HR leaders in tech industries were recently split on the matter. In either scenario, as the digital transformation continues to evolve, it will be incumbent on employers to prep their workforce for change if they want to be viable in the future market. To that end, L&D will need to be scalable and deliverable to employees of all types, be they desk-bound or in the field.
"We need to meet learners where they currently are in order to optimize for engagement and completion of programs," Tom Griffiths, co-founder and CEO at Hone, previously told HR Dive.
For learning programs to actually work, employees will need to feel empowered to ask after that training — and that happens more often if learning is seen as part of the company culture and encouraged through performance management.
Some businesses are beginning to target middle-skill workers for training and upskilling in response to that shrinking job pool. Going forward, employers may need to consider the training needs of workers with this level of education, as well as the learning needs of college-educated workers, to ensure that no group falters as local job markets and technology continue to evolve.