Is Your Job at Risk as Robots Enter Into the Workforce in Greater Numbers?
There is a familiar pattern throughout the history of technology in the workforce. As a new piece of tech is introduced it brings with it fears that the working landscape will undergo a radical shift and leave workers behind with no jobs or opportunities to find new ones. The latest wave threatening to crash down is the field of robotics and the automation of the labor force, with workers being replaced by machines designed to perform jobs efficiently and cost effectively. In order to properly prepare for changes to the way we work it is important to understand what change is coming and how to separate the truth from the myth.
Many Industries Face High Exposure to Replacement
The primary thing to understand about the increased use of robotics in the workforce is that it won’t hit every industry in the same way. A Brookings Institution report estimated that about 36 million american jobs are at a high risk of being replaced by automation, which they classified as jobs where fewer than 30 percent of responsibilities required a human to be completed. Although there are some industries where this likely is not surprising, such as clerical staff around offices who face the threat of improved scanning and services like automatic dictation, others are more unexpected. Cooks were noted as being at risk with much of the prep work handled by line cooks potentially on the verge of decreased availability as robotics grow.
Lost Jobs Are Not the Only End Result
Although robotics may pose a short term risk for the health of the labor market, with increases in economic output not trickling down to the workers entirely, that doesn’t mean it is all bad news for workers. Despite the loss of some jobs to automation, when increased technology leads to increases in the economy overall this means more spending. So long as the overall increase in economic demand is strong enough to overcome the decreased percentage of labor being performed by human workers, the mechanization process can actually lead to more work being available across the larger economy.
Consumers Will Benefit
One group which sees a definitive advantage as robotics becomes increasingly prevalent in production and service is the consumers. More efficient means of production mean lower costs for companies, and lower costs mean more affordable services and products. Overall quality of life can go up when better products are available at more affordable rates.
Preparing Now Is the Best Solution
For workers in industries facing the greatest risk from robotics the solution is to not wait for jobs to begin disappearing to start preparing for the next opportunity. By learning new skills now which translate better to the modern face of the labor force you position yourself to be in a prime position to find new work in the event that your current job is lost to automation.
Robotics and automation are coming into the labor force in increasing numbers whether workers want them to or not. Rather than fighting against the changes the best solution is to be ready for them so that you can reap the rewards of improved technology instead of being brushed aside.