Can manufacturing automation lead to job growth?

11 October 2019 automation

There's no disputing the fact that technology is changing the way we work, but the outlook isn't as pessimistic as many have forecast.

International research is now suggesting that, rather than costing us jobs, automation and other technology will actually lead to more jobs being created than ever before.

How will automation create jobs?

For many people, terms like automation, AI and robotics sound like bad news for workers. However, there's evidence that automation is leading to job growth in manufacturing and its related services.

The reason is simple: automation can only take over certain aspects of a job. Instead of replacing people, they're more likely to complement the work of humans and free us up to do more valuable tasks.

Research from Raconteur predicts that by 2030, although some physical, manual and mundane aspects of jobs will be automated, the parts that require critical thinking, social or emotional skills and technological work will all be in higher demand.

In essence, robotics will begin to take over some of the repetitive and tedious jobs, but humans will still be needed to get the majority of the work done.

In fact, while Industry 4.0 has a strong emphasis on implementing new technologies, Industry 5.0 will be all about the reliance of people and how their skills can best be utilised.

Which areas will see job growth?

If job growth is predicted in industrial manufacturing, what areas are likely to see this growth?

Data jobs: One of the main drives of Industry 4.0 is real-time data. Manufacturing equipment will be able to instantly relay information about production levels, required repairs and possible dangers. Someone will need to keep on top of this data and make sure the manufacturing plant is working optimally at all times.

Human interaction jobs: While automation may help in the warehouse or factory, it won't help to attract new customers. The human touch is something that will continue to be valued in sales, marketing and communications. As companies save money by automation, they'll be able to hire more people in these areas.

Unknown jobs: One American recruitment company estimates that 65% of jobs that will be done by today's children don't even exist yet. While this figure is up for debate, the fact remains that with new technology comes new opportunities, so we're sure to see new roles develop.

Repair work: While some elements of repairs and even ordering parts might be taken over by robotics, supervision and checks of machinery will still have to be done by human eyes and hands.

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