The University of the West of England (UWE) recently hosted Kevin Ellis, Chair and Senior Partner, PwC UK, who delivered a lecture as part of the Bristol Distinguished Address Series entitled “The role of business in a disrupted world, Why business needs to work harder to show its positive contribution to society.”
As a man with a wealth of knowledge within the business community, Kevin gave an insightful lecture about the current Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He analysed the huge changes that can be expected and the impact on the wider society.
Kevin began his talk asking what the Fourth Revolution looks like, suggesting that 15-20% (7 million) of current jobs will be wiped out by Robotics and Artificial Intelligence, having a negative impact on business’ relationship with society.
Although it’s not all negative, Kevin believes that, while 7 million jobs may be lost, the industry could see an increase of up to 7.2 million jobs. To reinforce this, Kevin explained that PwC already has Robotics, drone, AI and Blockchain teams – highlighting that these jobs already exist, but society isn’t fully aware yet.
Kevin went on to explain how the revolution could actually be seen as a huge opportunity. With 18% of employees disengaged with their current jobs, the retraining and reskilling of these people could have a positive impact. Speaking about current graduates, who may have to work for a longer period, Kevin emphasised the need for advancements in technology to help people stay relevant, and for graduates to have an agile mind-set, as most people no longer have just one career.
Kevin explained that PwC has launched five technology degrees with apprenticeship schemes with 111 people enrolled. The aim is to improve social mobility and to get more females (currently 30%) into the sector. They have also launched The Tech She Can® Charter which is a commitment by organisations to work together to increase the number of women working in technology roles in the UK.
Kevin concluded his talk by emphasising that the revolution is inevitable, that businesses need to start acting now and they need to be transparent in every way in order to bring about change and they must tell a better story about social mobility. Kevin stressed the need to change the lexicon, it’s not about jobs being lost, it’s about the retraining and re-skilling people.