What the fourth Industrial Revolution means for digital

By May 16, 2016 Latest News

Back in the mid 18th Century the first Industrial Revolution used water and steam to power mass production. The Second Revolution of the late 19th Century used electricity for power. The third Revolution of the mid 20th Century used electronics and information technology to automate production. Following closely behind, the fourth Revolution centres around the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Described by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum (WEF) as “characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres”, the primary objective of each Revolution has been achieving “long-term gains in efficiency and productivity”.

Today efficiencies are being driven by data and machines that can independently process, share and act upon information without human supervision, fundamentally shifting the way we work, live, interact and transact.

Similar to past revolutions, the fourth revolution brings with it myriad possibilities, and according to WEF, “the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world”.

As a result, transportation and communication costs will be reduced which will see global supply chains gain efficiency while new markets emerge. Production, management, and governance will be transformed.


How does the fourth Industrial Revolution affect the digital jobs market?

Hailed by WEF as having “the power to disrupt almost every industry in every country”, digital innovation is a clear driving force behind the fourth Industrial Revolution, driving economic growth through increased productivity, performance and profitability.

According to Tech Nation 2016, UK digital and tech currently accounts for 1.46m jobs, and, as a sector, is growing 32% faster than the rest of the economy, estimated to grow at a rate of 5.4% by 2020.

To meet demand and to sustain the rapid economic growth, in a January 2016 report, Digital Skills for the UK Economy, the government estimates the workforce will need to double in size with an extra “1.4m digital professionals needed over the next five years”.

As the demand for digital skills outstrips supply, employers are already experiencing digital skill gaps within the workforce, with “rapid technological advances” being attributed to difficulties filling advertised vacancies, and reskilling and retooling workforces.

In the same report, the government outlines the significant technological trends it believes will continue to emerge in the coming years including: the growing importance of cyber security; mobile and cloud computing; big data and analytics; and the automation of routine tasks.

WEF cites breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing as the next frontier.

For digital employees this is good news, provided they can reskill and adapt in an industry that’s forever evolving.

If you’d like to explore a career in digital, contact Digital People today.