The rising of a robot workforce!

Recruitment / The rising of a robot workforce!

Matthew Wheeler

Matthew Wheeler
January 18, 2017

Ok, so the title is more of a sound bite than something that is likely to happen in the near future, but if you were to take all the commentaries recently about Robots in the work place, it certainly sounds like it’s imminent. 

I’ve written a few blogs over the last year for BPS World and most have been focused around the Financial Technology and Security markets. I recruit specialists in these markets and I genuinely love working with people and the specialists in these markets. However, this time round, I’ve been reading a few articles, posts and reports about how the markets are shifting and how many roles will be taken by this Robotic onslaught of possible workers so I thought this would be an interesting topic to explore.

One of the first Robots ever created was by a gentleman called William Grey Walter. This was an electronic Robot which was designed to show the complexity of connections within the brain. Certainly not at the level of what we are used to in this day and age with the likes of the chess-playing computer Deep Blue or the artificial intelligence research of DeepMind but in the late 1940s, this was no mean feat. As technology progressed at an alarming rate through the years we are now at a stage where computers are successfully beating humans in games we devised. So where is this likely to leave us Humans?

In real terms, a game of Chess or Go is actually relatively straightforward. There are a set number of squares/holes/moves that can be made. It’s then about deducing the best options and making that move. Put this decision process in to something like driving a car, and the options and variants are mind boggling. That’s not even considering the ethical and legal elements of the “thought” process which the likes of the Autonomous Car manufacturers are trying to deal with. So will we ever see the task of “Driving” taken over by a Robot? Almost certainly – the question will be when, and I suspect not for many years yet.

 We’ve seen where roles have been lost in manufacturing. Vast processing plants where glass and plastic is melted, moulded and then filled with a liquid. Covered in logos, stamped with an expiry date and boxed all in an autonomous fashion with just a number of people there to manage or fix the machines when they break. So one could certainly come to a conclusion that “Blue Collar” styled work environments will be high on that list.

 You could also safely expect any task that involves elements of clear danger to be an automated role. As we saw with the Robots used when the Fukushima Nuclear Plant went in to meltdown the first step was to review and assess the structural damage to the fuel rod casings. Obviously rather than send in a Human, in went the Robots. A very logical process to avoid any risk of further human life.

 So if a role falls in the category of “Dirty, Dangerous or Dull” then there is good chance there are teams of individuals working to find a Robotic or Automated solution. If we look at the larger day to day world that most people live in, then I suspect we are unlikely to see any large shift any time soon. Good news for us recruiters in the short term, but ultimately even we are going to have to adapt at some point to the forgone conclusion. It is already happening in recruitment with software to ensure efficient candidate screening and automated workflows, so the only question really is when!

 What are your thoughts on the rising robot workforce?

For further information please contact Matthew Wheeler on 01628857333 or

Back to Insights

What to read next