Robots Take Jobs But Also Create Them

A recent report produced by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, states that 38 percent of U.S. jobs (nearly 4 in 10) will be replaced by robots and artificial intelligence (AI) by the early 2030s. With so many jobs disappearing, many futurists and economists are considering the possibility of a jobless future.

We’re more optimistic and don’t believe it’s all doom and gloom. While it’s true that some people will see their jobs become obsolete, there will be opportunities for workers to acquire new skills in order to obtain other well-paying jobs. Robots in the workforce will not merely take jobs away, but also create them.

Just ask Amazon. Robots are helping to create 100,000 new jobs over the next 18 months! Thanks in part to more robots in its fulfillment centers, Amazon has been able to drive down shipping costs and pass those savings on to customers. Cheaper shipping made more people use Amazon, and the company hired more workers to meet this increased demand.

At IBM, the arrival of “Watson,” a broad collection of online tools that use artificial intelligence to help diagnose disease, among other things, is considered a job transformation and not job replacement.  Watson is not stealing jobs. It operates alongside humans, not in lieu of them.

Yes, the robotics revolution is here. There’s no way to avoid it. We advise that you take advantage of this new era and consider robotics as a career path. There’s a high demand for robotics talent in all the major industries including agriculture, health & medical, retail & hospitality, consumer goods, infrastructure, security, energy & mining, manufacturing, and supply chain.

What are the hottest jobs in robotics right now?

Robotics Engineer: A robotics engineer has the responsibility for developing the robot on paper. It takes research and high technicality. Also, as a robot is being built, an engineer will oversee practically every aspect of the development of the robot.

Software Developer: Each robot has a computerized internal system that is written and coded by a software developer. Obviously, the software developer must be highly skilled and proficient in computing coding and software design.

Technician: Robotics technicians build, maintain, test and repair robots. They may also work on robotics-related automation production systems. Therefore, they must have a strong background in hardware, electronics, and circuitry.

Sales Engineer: This professional will prospect, qualify, quote and close business opportunities. They must also be able to consult with the buyer and make any changes in the design to satisfy their needs.

Operator: Robotics operators are needed to ensure basic and safe robotic operations and adjustments as required.  They often read blueprints and ensure correct machine settings.

What traits are essential for those entering the robotics field? According to ROBOTIQ.com, here are a few crucial ones:

Systems Thinking: The understanding of a robotics system by examining the linkages and interactions between the components that comprise the entirety of that defined system.

Problem Solving: The ability to foresee problems before they even arise and troubleshooting if they do arise.

Programming Mindset: An essential skill for robotics. Robotic programmers will interact with hardware and electronics plus must be comfortable learning any new language.

Mathematically Inclined: To succeed in robotics, you will need a good grasp of at least algebra, calculus, and geometry. This is because robotics relies on being able to understand and manipulate abstract concepts, often representing those concepts as functions or equations.

Good Communication Skills:  Roboticists are a channel of communication between the different disciplines. Therefore, communication skills are vital. Being able to use your speaking and writing skills effectively is important. Also, very helpful is having good instructing skills.

Technology Design: Being able to design things that work is a must. It also means being able to figure out why something isn’t working properly and come up with possible solutions and having skills in repairing.

There’s no doubt, robots and AI will change the landscape of the job market and a new generation of jobs will emerge. The robotic revolution will come with a new wave of hiring.

Has your job been affected by Robotics and AI? If so, how? Please comment in the box below.

Deposits and Withdraws by Matthew Cohen, Energy & Sustainability Practice Leader, Direct Recruiters, Inc.

How to give as much as receive when interviewing passive candidates

May 2, 2017

When interviewing a candidate for a job, the goal is discovering as much information as possible in order to decide if the person we are interviewing is the right fit for the position.  However, when interviewing passive candidates, i.e. those candidates who are currently working and are possibly being recruited, we often forget that the candidate is looking for information to decide if the position and the organization is right for them.  I regularly debrief candidates after interviews who tell me they left the interviews without knowing the full scope of the position or important information on the company even when they asked specific questions directly.

When interviewing a passive candidate, it is vital that we provide or “deposit” as much information as we “withdraw” from the candidate to keep the candidate engaged and provide them information for them to make a decision that is best for them.  Below are areas hiring managers can deposit important information that will engage passive candidates:

  1. Company Benefits- With the ever-changing landscape in employer based healthcare, it is crucial that candidates understand the company’s benefits to know what it will cost them per month. In some cases, we see a 5-10K difference in out of pocket healthcare costs which can affect what salary a candidate will accept.  Healthcare providers in network, dental, and vison coverage are also important information.  If possible, I recommend the hiring manager shares this information before any final interview so that the candidate can ask any clarifying questions. Vacation, 401k and any other company benefits are also advantageous to share prior to an offer made to a candidate.
  2. Compensation Structures- While a base salary may be tough to share prior to an offer being made, other aspects of compensation are vital information so that the candidate can understand how they will be paid. Passive candidates should understand how compensation that may include commissions, quarterly, or year bonuses are calculated and paid out so they can ascertain what salary they will ultimately accept.
  3. Company Achievements- When interviewing candidates, we always look to understand their achievements and metrics that show they have a proven track record of success. It should be no different for the company they are interviewing with.  Company growth, awards, recent successes and upcoming projects or growth are valuable pieces of information to deposit when interviewing passive candidates.

We understand there needs to be a balance between what we withdraw and deposit when interviewing passive candidates.  Those hiring managers that pay attention to this balance we find have the most success landing the best talent.

Simple Ways to Improve Your Ability to Secure Top Talent in Today’s Market

April 11, 2017

By Adam Ulmen, Manager, Research & Technology and Healthcare IT Research Manager

As an IT Staffing Firm, we see the following unfortunate scenario play out daily: we present a solid Candidate to the Client, the Client likes him or her and gives positive feedback, however, the Hiring Manager wants to see some more Candidates as points of comparison to gauge the quality of the existing Candidate against other profiles. While on the surface, this seems like a fine practice that should ideally lead to finding the best possible fit for the role and organization, this also directly leads to a delayed and cumbersome hiring process for all involved.

Today’s job market is very Candidate-driven; meaning that your company is competing for the top Candidates at every turn, and those Candidates have many options available to them. When Candidates have several options to choose from, you as a Hiring Manager need to be agile and move with haste to secure these Candidates before the competition does. Two of the most prominent reasons why Candidates will choose the competition over you include:

Slow Hiring Process – In a Candidate’s mind, a slow process reflects the organization as a whole. Slow processes may be interpreted as your company not being very serious about the Candidate or about being competitive in general. This leaves a very sour taste in the Candidate’s mouth and a lasting negative impression of your company.

Inflexible Compensation Packages – Hiring Managers need to be aware of where the bar is set in terms of the market value of these Candidates. Being inflexible on compensation when it comes to top talent is a death knell for your ability to secure the best Candidates. You don’t always need to throw the kitchen sink at a Candidate, but being open to different structures or levels of compensation can transform your ability to attract and maintain top talent.

Regarding the slow hiring process: Today’s hiring process should be streamlined and simplified wherever possible.  As a Hiring Manager within your organization, you have likely interviewed people before and you likely know the culture of your company and what type of person fits in well. You should also be able to tell quickly if someone is qualified and can do the job. Do not stall the process with a high-quality Candidate for the sake of getting comparison points. These high-quality Candidates are being courted by other companies with interesting opportunities in addition to your role, they are expecting a reasonable hiring process and dreading a long and drawn out one, and they are rapidly losing interest in your company within days of your last contact with them while you sink a ton more time into finding comparison Candidates. Additionally, you already have comparison Candidates to begin with: your current staff! Chances are there is at least one person in your organization who is doing a fine job in the same role you are adding to the team, so use that person as your barometer to expedite your process.

Regarding compensation: Not all Candidates are created equal. There is a tremendous spectrum of talent and skill in the market and you need to decide what part of that range you want to attract and what that range requires to land. If your goal is to hire the best possible Candidate, then you may need to pay what that Candidate is worth based on the market and their personal compensation history. If you find that you truly cannot afford the best of the best, then you may need to adjust your expectations across your hiring team and calibrate the search toward Candidates who may need a bit more training and ramp-up, but who are in the price range you are offering.

As an IT Staffing Firm, we see the above happen daily and it cripples the entire process. We know what the market looks like, we know who is looking and who is not, and we know what it is going to take to land these top-tier Candidates. You as the Hiring Manager can only benefit and thrive by implementing some of the above commentary into your daily talent acquisition strategies.

Growing Contingent Workforce Benefits Both Healthcare Organizations & HIT Professionals

(Appeared March 1, 2017 on HIStalk.com )

There’s high growth when it comes to temporary workers, contractors, independent consultants, and freelancers within Healthcare IT. New technologies, cost factors, and a whole new generation of HIT professionals wanting to work in a gig economy (http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/gig-economy) are fueling this growth. The rise and growth of the contingent workforce are only expected to accelerate over the next few years into 2020.

This dynamic shift to a contingent workforce makes sense for healthcare organizations and the benefits are well worth it.  With a contingent workforce, healthcare organizations experience a big efficiency boost, risk mitigation, and derive a substantial cost savings in these ways:

  • The rise of managed service providers (MSP) enables health systems to acquire and manage a contingent workforce. As contingent labor programs continue to grow, these partnerships will be one of the most important workforce solutions that a health system can adopt to effectively manage risk and decrease healthcare hiring.
  • The use of vendor management systems (VMS) is a fast way to source and hire contingent labor. These systems make it easy to submit requisitions to multiple staffing suppliers.
  • Outsourced expertise will be able to assist healthcare facilities in meeting the January 2018 EHR system requirements. In addition, they often have the extensive knowledge needed when it comes to medical coding. For example, according to the AMA, in 2017, ICD-10-CM changes will include 2,305 new codes, 212 deleted ones, and 553 revised ones.
  • Healthcare organizations can “dial up” or “dial down” staffing as needed without having to pay FTE benefits.
  • Improved visibility and provider stays in control through the use of structured reporting, governance processes, and dashboards.
  • Internal resources are freed-up to focus on higher priority clinical-facing initiatives such as workflow optimization.

For HIT professionals, contingency work in the HIT space is very attractive since opportunities are plentiful, the remuneration is desirable and the work is rewarding. In addition, work is becoming more knowledge and project-based and therefore, causing healthcare organizations to become increasingly reliant on their specialized HIT skills and expertise. According to Black Book Rankings Healthcare (http://www.blackbookrankings.com/healthcare/), this reliance will help to fuel the growth of the global HIT outsourcing market, which should hit $50.4 billion by 2018.

However, making the change from an employee to a contingent worker takes thought and preparation before just jumping in. Here are a few suggestions:

Identify the niche where you have skills and expertise. Know your passion. Also, pinpoint what type of HIT services and advice you can offer that healthcare organizations are willing to pay for.

Obtain the required certifications. Getting certified is a surefire way to advance your career in the IT industry. Research IT certification guides (https://www.globalknowledge.com/us-en/content/articles/top-paying-certifications/) to identify which ones you will need in the areas of security, storage, project management, cloud computing, computer forensics and more.

Build your network and brand yourself. It’s important to start building your network once you’ve decided to be a consultant. A strong contact base will help you connect with the resources needed in order to find work.  Also, position yourself as an expert, someone that an organization cannot do without. Now, combine both a professional network and social network to help you spread with word faster.

Target your market and location. Determine what type of facility or organization you want to work with and once decided, think about location. Do you want to work remotely or on-site? Are you open to relocation or a commute via airline to and from work?

Decide whether to go solo or engage with a consulting and staffing firm.  If you have the entrepreneurial spirit and want to approach a specific organization directly for a long-term gig, you might want to go solo. However, if you’re open to both short-term and long-term opportunities in various locations, a consultant staffing firm might be the answer.

The rise of a contingent workforce and gig economy will only continue to grow and with it, much opportunity. A consultant or contractor has more freedom than a regular employee to circulate within their professional community and to take more jobs in more challenging environments. For healthcare facilities, a contingent workforce means acquiring the right HIT skills and expertise needed without the overhead costs associated with payroll benefits and administration. No doubt, a win-win situation for both.

Take Time to Assess Your Career

March 30, 2017

Many people think it’s time to change jobs or careers only after a bomb drops on them such as a bad review or in danger of being downsized. Don’t wait until you’re in a desperate situation to make a life changing decision. Instead, take time to assess your career often in order to see where it’s going.

According to the Wall Street Journal (Wednesday, February 15, 2017), assessing your job should be done on a quarterly basis and be considered a “Fitness Plan for Your Career.” It’s less daunting than creating a 10 or 20-year career road map and consists of small steps rather than large leaps. The WSJ suggests you:

  • Take stock of what’s working well in your career and what’s not
  • Ask yourself what you could add or change on your current job to do more of what you want
  • Consider learning new skills trying freelance gigs as a way to discover new positions
  • Keep a career journal to help you recall details of your skills and accomplishments
  • Build your reputation by writing or speaking publicly about new developments in your field
  • Expand your network beyond past and present colleagues to include others in your field, industry, and region

If after creating the fitness plan, you decide that you definitely want and need a change, don’t be reckless about it. Try to follow these key steps:

  • Know what you want. What does the new job or career look like? What doesn’t it look like? Will you be able to leverage your current skills for a successful transition?
  • Find out what it takes. In order to transfer into a new role or field, will you need additional training, education or certifications?
  • You still have to eat and live. Will this new position pay enough to cover the rent/mortgage and put food on the table? Does it fit with your family life and lifestyle?
  • Create a plan. Put together a timeline of what you need to do and by when. You will need a financial plan as well. Don’t try to just wing it without the proper planning.
  • Shift your brand. Change your resume, online presence and profile so they make sense to your new target audience that you’re trying to reach. Make sure they “get” you and your aspirations.
  • Network. Network. Network. You need to get to know the influencers and successful people in your new field. Ask people you know for introductions to them. Also, find out what associations they are members of. Spend time on LinkedIn, Twitter or their company website to obtain more information and make connections.

Your career is one of the most important assets you will manage in your life. Therefore, you have to give it the proper time and attention it deserves. It’s in your best interest to take stock every quarter to make sure your career is still on track and if it’s still what you want.