A number of years ago, when I was trying to learn to ski, I recall one exasperated teacher continuing to say, “Mike, you have to look 20 feet ahead of you – not right at your feet”.  The same principle applies to planning your business.   The successful entrepreneurs are those who can anticipate change and take action now to take advantage of changes in the future.

Those who have read Thomas Friedman’s outstanding book, “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations”, will appreciate the “tectonic movements that are reshaping the world today”.

The BC Business Council has just released a paper prepared by David Williams, Vice President of Policy, that takes a close look at the potential impact of automation on the BC Labour Market (a link to the full Paper is at the end of this article).  With the permission of the BCBC, we are pleased to offer this informative paper along with a useful summary to our readers.  We hope it will allow you to look 20 feet ahead of your skis.

Set out below is a quick summary highlighting the points addressed in the Paper[1]:

  • The changing role of labour and the ever-expanding range of tasks in producing goods and services in the BC labour market.
  • The significant percentage of BC jobs with a high potential to be automated and the fact that BC has, compared to the rest of Canada, a slightly greater share of highly-automatable occupations and (a) how that will affect costs of adoption; and (b) the potential effect of automation on low-income jobs.
  • The fact that more than half of B.C. jobs are in sectors that are highly automatable, on average.
  • The fact that: about 90% of B.C. jobs are in occupations where at least 10% of tasks can be automated by a current technology; about 35% of jobs are in occupations where at least 50% of tasks are automatable; and about 11% of jobs are in occupations where 80% or more of the tasks are automatable.
  • While no one can predict the pace of future automation, the paper offers a technically-focused risk assessment only – the actual pace and extent of automation will depend on non-technical factors as well, including economic, social and regulatory developments.
  • It may be that productivity gains and the creation of new roles for labour could more than offset automation’s effects on overall labour demand.

Is your business ready to meet the challenges of future automation?

Full BCBC Paper on Automation

The content in the Michael Weiler Employment + Labour newsletters and blog is for your general information and should not be taken as legal advice.  If you have a specific problem, please contact Michael Weiler to discuss your situation. 

[1] The above summary is a shorter version of the summary provided by Mr. Williams in the Paper.