As time to bid goodbye to 2014, there are a few inescapable topics that you may scroll through your newsfeed. Throughout 2014, the primary and predominant topic that created buzz has been industrial automation - specifically how the unanticipated rise in robotics investments over the approaching years has the potential to cause mass stagnation in the industrial sector. The rational thinkers and the fear mongers think alike and agree to the fact that this may soon become a primary cause of concern.
However, although the next generation of industrial mechanization is poised to make most jobs obsolete, itâs vital to remember that this isnât the first milestone in industrial transformation. If weâve learned anything from the past, itâs just that evolution is persistently associated with workforce evolution. There might be fewer jobs in the future, but there will also more requirements for skill and higher pay.
Technological and workforce advancement throughout centuries
If you take a retrospective glance at the history of advancement in the industrial sector, every year will seem to be more exciting and interesting than the last. According to the studies by the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, the state of industrialization has been termed as Industry 4.0. Although their study mainly focuses on technology, the present generation leaves out the workforce - the people developing and using the technologies.
At each transition point along the ages, worker count has always tended to decrease but consistent growth was always experienced in consequent programming, engineering and maintenance areas. the shift was from the lone craftsman, with very low volume to volume. In the 1700s and 1800s, companies needed mechanical engineers to design for steam power and mechanics. If you fast forward with robotics and Information Technology, it will be ingrained systems design engineers and other high-skilled tech professionals to keep it moving forward.
Addressing the evolving and changing workforce
Are you about the shift towards more automation and humans? According to a study by the MIT Technology Review, the top 10 robotic countries are South Korea, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, USA and Spain. Gary Frank, VP of Automated Systems at Westfalia Technologies Inc., commented to the raising concern of workers being replaced by robots. He said that to the belief that the automation technology is swallowing millions of jobs and displacing workers throughout the nation, the current job market isnât vanishing, rather it is evolving. With so many baby boomers expected to retire in the next 10-15 years, a skills gap has been emerging in the recent years and during this time the rise of robotics and other forms of automation is poised to widen this gap.
The Robots are arriving - What change is desired?
Firstly, there might not have been a better time for the Gen-Y to start down the path of manufacturing career, where skills will not only equal job but will also result in higher pay over time. Thanks to the many communities, businesses, manufacturers, universities and municipalities, we seem to move along the right direction.
Secondly, there are many workers in the industrial setting that have already been impacted by this automation. Although the result has not necessarily been to replace them, but rather for their responsibilities to evolve. The key is for workers to always keep adapting their so that they may remain relevant to the organization.
Finally, it shouldnât go without saying that though manufacturing companies will be recruiting and funding these highly-skilled jobs, when it comes to the lack of eligible workers, theyâre not without guilt.
Hence, as jobs become more service-based and technology-based, average workers will need to be skilled in ways which previous generations couldnât have ever dreamt of. So, yes IT professionals will have super skills. The point is, rapid transformation is already starting to evolve, and therefore prospective workers, current industry and other organizations should do the needful to be on the right side of it.
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