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Rethinking Robotics

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Published on 16 September 2019

How technology in the industrial sector affects jobs.

It is no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) has been at the forefront of everyone’s mind over the last few years. With the release of various technologies such as robotics, drones and countless machines that have the potential to replace human workers, the worries surrounding job loss have grown. In an effort to increase productivity and reduce costs, businesses are downsizing and replacing employees with faster and more efficient machinery. As a warehouse or production operative, assembler or packer, welder, FLT driver, cleaner, gardener, refuse loader, should you be worried?

In short, the answer is no.

While no sector will remain unaffected by AI, it is clear that the manufacturing and transport industries are highly likely to see an evident reduction in current roles. Instead of complete job loss, new roles will be created most likely working alongside robots and a new way of operation.

Understandably, a role change may be intimidating for current employees so it is important that the integration of AI is applied in an informative and supportive manner. With thorough organisation and training to support employees, the industrial sector will benefit and the capabilities of current warehouse staff will expand dramatically.
If employees in the industrial sector are willing to move with the times, there will be various opportunities to develop and potentially receive greater job opportunities.

A report by PricewaterhouseCoopers estimated that AI would create 200,000 more jobs than it will displace. In London alone, it has been calculated that there is to be as many as 138,000 new jobs created through AI integration in the next 20 years.
However, the increase in AI is creating further concerns than just job loss. Increasing technology means that the nature of workplace environments will continue to evolve. The introduction of machine operated processes and new methods of employee monitoring is also likely to occur, sooner rather than later.

Many warehouses have already introduced surveillance of their employees. Productivity-tracking wristbands, increased CCTV, plus logging staff working hours, keyboard stroke counts, social media usage, and introducing photographic timecards are all tools that some companies may use to keep an eye on their employees.

Our Verdict

AI is nothing to be afraid of; however, it does require an open mind and willingness to adapt as the world does. Inevitably, the roles and responsibilities of employees in the industrial sector are set to change, but this is no different to the evolution of job roles throughout history.

At Berry Recruitment, like you, we are always considering the future of the industrial sector and how we can support you in your job hunt. We believe this change will be a gradual process due to the expensive nature of the machinery, therefore current and future employees will have time to prepare. Additionally, the new technology will have a positive long-term effect by boosting consumer spending and consequently strengthening the economy.

Although technology will increase productivity and reduce costs, robots cannot learn skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity and other intuitive abilities and therefore the demand for jobs in the industrial sector will always be present. If you want to know more about the future of the industrial sector, we always provide a friendly and professional service and would be glad to talk to you about it.