…. but warns that more jobs up the cognitive ladder are going to be automated
Cabinet Office Minister Matt Hancock told civil servants to expect more digital technology in the workplace, with a hint that it is going to hit jobs in some areas.
But speaking at the Civil Service Live conference in London, he also claimed it would create new opportunities for people with digital skills, and said the Government was investing in this as part of its Fast Stream programme.
Hancock was highlighting the prime features of the Civil Service Workforce Plan 2016-2020, in which digital, data and technology is now included among the 10 core functions of central leadership across departments.
Speaking of the need to adapt to what technology can do in the workplace, he said: “We need to build a Civil Service that can adapt to a world where new technology is radically changing the future of work. It’s a challenge and a huge opportunity.
“For years physical tasks have been automated. Now cognitive tasks are being automated like never before.
“This is inevitable. It can’t be resisted. But we can and must make this change work for us. The goal is to automate work, but humanise jobs.
“This sort of transformation, using the best technology, means we can deliver better services and lower costs. It can free people up to do the thinking, the managing, the creating. But it also means the jobs will be different.”
He acknowledged the disruption it will involve, but said there will be support for civil servants whose jobs are thrown up in the air, claiming there will be a new focus on training and developing skills.
Part of the lure for digital specialists could be better pay – Hancock said the Government is looking at the issue – and the report identifies the need to do more in developing clear career paths.
Hancock also said the he wants to see a more porous Civil Service, with more people moving in and out, and that its structures should reflect this with support for short and long term careers. One step will be that jobs will advertised externally by default by the end of the current Parliament.
Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0