Artificial Intelligence

Is Automation the Answer to Future Skilled Worker Shortages?

Could automation be the answer to shortages of skilled technology workers?

The House Committee on Appropriations Defense Subcommittee met on Tuesday, October 26 to discuss Workforce Development and the DoD.

What was Discussed at the Hearing…

A large part of the discussion centered around the DoD’s use of civilian workers. Some expressed concerns that the DoD relies too heavily on civilian workers, while others expressed concerns regarding the cost of competing with private industry, particularly when trying to hire and retain talent with high-level technical skills.

Naturally, it didn’t take long before the subject of automation came up.

Rep. Ken Calvert of California, the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee’s defense panel, said the Pentagon should reduce the number of civilians by automating a raft of jobs and responsibilities, similar to what’s happened in private manufacturing and shipping across the country.

“I don’t see how we can afford to maintain the current civilian workforce into the future if we’re forced to balance those costs with procurement and research efforts, which are absolutely necessary,” he said.

“Over the past few years, several studies and reports have expressed significant concern about the ability of our workforce to meet the current and future workforce gaps in skilled trades, engineering, and emerging technologies throughout the defense sector…This challenge has been a particular interest of mine as Chair, and the Committee’s report for Fiscal Year 2022 includes several reporting requirements from the Department on this issue.”

Can Automation Solve the Problem?

Rep. Calvert didn’t mention specifically what roles he feels should be automated. However, we know from our work with DoD clients that a great deal of their skilled IT staff’s hours are spent performing repeatable tasks such as edge kit configurations, or on managing and maintaining the very IT infrastructure that is supposed to facilitate the work they’re doing to support the mission of their organization or unit.

The loss of these valuable skilled staff hours can have a direct impact on the mission-readiness of the units they support.

One concern expressed during the hearing is how often the DoD finds itself in competition with technology companies for these skilled workers. Compensation aside, we believe that when skilled staff are able to dedicate themselves to growing and improving upon the capabilities of their organization, it does wonders for their morale and job satisfaction. Our automated tools ensure that skilled staff spend more time doing the work that they were hired for.

We know there is no magical solution to a potential shortfall in the skilled labor market. However, we know that automation can play a key role in the success and retention of those highly skilled workers, and that impacts the lives of the servicemembers they support.

Naturally, the cost aspect is a cornerstone of the discussion as well. Highly skilled labor is expensive. If your organization is committed to hiring the very best talent, it makes sense to do everything possible to maximize that talent. That talent should not be dedicated to tasking that can easily be completed by an automated system.

We can create an automated ecosystem that meets the unique needs of your organization. Our automation products work with both legacy and cutting-edge infrastructures alike.

Some may express concern about the idea of automated systems supplanting the brilliance of a well-trained human mind. The reality is that automated IT infrastructure serves to ensure that the brilliant, highly-trained, highly-skilled human mind for which your organization so dearly desires to keep, is allowed to do the things no machine can… create, innovate, and advance your mission.

 

We can get your smart people back to doing the work you hired them for. Reach out to us at sales@nextechsol.com, or give us a call at 904.458.7658.