Change can be scary. When an article is posted about an innovative company installing robots, aren’t we all afraid of what will happen to its human workers? It’s a fact that automation reduces business cost by having a machine do a job a person was doing. But is that the whole story? Automation and robotics are good for companies, but are they good for human workers?
Let’s consider how another big technological advancement impacted workers. New technology emerges regularly that makes as many businesses and professions obsolete as it creates new ones in a different field. Take, for example, the automobile. How many industries did it kill? Horse breeders, coachmen, blacksmiths, tack companies, whip makers, carriage makers, and livery stables. But how many new industries emerged? Auto mechanics, car dealerships, pneumatic tire manufacturers, fast food restaurants, American tourism, the great American road trip, hotels, and the petroleum industry.
So which businesses and jobs will go the way of the coachmen? It’s hard to say exactly, but a report from the World Economic Forum places it around 75 million jobs gone. But, like the automobile, the robotic revolution will create more jobs than it eliminates – up to 133 million new jobs by 2022 according to the report.
What will these 133 million new jobs be like? Will they be more valuable and fulfilling than the jobs they’re replacing? It’s likely they will. Many of the companies surveyed in the report highlighted their intention to hire more remote staff and decentralize their offices (and working remote, according to a lot of experts, is awesome).
38% of businesses expect to extend their workforce to new productivity-enhancing roles. More than 25% expect automation to lead to the creation of new roles in their business.
Will robots eliminate some people’s jobs? Yes. Can you robot-proof your career? Maybe. But in the long run, you’ll be best served by educating yourself in a skill that robots can’t embody. History has taught us when new technology replaces a human’s job, the people willing to either learn a new skill or relocate have been able to find careers in the new more modern world.
Here are a few free online courses you can take to create a skillset that’s robot-proof:
Like the automobile, automation has the potential to revolutionize our working environments and create new businesses and new career opportunities. Think of automation as just another step in our history driving us towards greater productivity and innovation.
There’s no denying the competitive advantage automation gives manufacturers. If you’re ready to discover how automation can benefit your company and your employees, we’d like to help you find the right equipment to meet your goals. Contact our automation engineers for more information.