The economy relies on productivity, employment and jobs to survive, so it’s essential to consider how the greater use of robotics and automation affects the economy. Across the globe, not just in the European economy, the demand for skills within robotics recruitment is growing. Recruitment companies that specialise in such sectors are seeing a rise in demand for skilled high calibre individuals within bespoke automation and robotic integration across all sectors. The number of temporary, contract and permanent positions for workers from within the UK and around the world is clearly growing. It seems that the impact of robotics, whilst changing the required skill sets, is undoubtedly not harming the number of jobs available. The ability to hire overseas workers, particularly those from Europe, has changed since the UK left the EU however, it is still a great way to attract skilled workers to support specific skill level shortages and open up the talent pool of candidates.
Two major areas where robotics is having a significant impact include the employment industry and manufacturing, so we look in more detail at the economic effect of a world seeing greater automation and robotics in use.
The use of robotics is revolutionising manufacturing. Many manufacturers now use three-dimensional vision industrial robotics to shift, pack and assemble. They benefit from improved efficiency and productivity. This often saves on production costs as they connect single platforms across their manufacturing process and become cyber-physical and for some tasks, less confined to physical premises or locations. The Internet of Things, 5G, and the cloud mean new technologies are transforming manufacturing into cyber-physical organisations.
We mentioned the need for employment that relies on a fluid jobs market at all levels. Robots are undoubtedly replacing many low-skilled jobs, as the technology is automating much of the repetitive, easy to perform, labour-intensive roles. Robots excel at many manufacturing tasks, the menial tasks that have previously seen floors of people moving, sorting, stocking raw materials, production and packaging lines at the lower end of the skills market. This wrongly perhaps leads us to believe that there is no future for lower-skilled and lower-paid workers, which would highly damage the economy.
However, it is actually not so clear cut. There are many upskilling opportunities and a birth of new job categories that allow opportunities for low-skilled workers to fit within robotics and automation updated businesses. It highlights a growing need to protect the lower end and for employers to train and upskill their workforces to meet their changing needs. Throughout the European economy, workers can move to meet labour shortages. Much automation is now enabling a broader geographic labour diversification, with roles that don’t require a physical office or factory presence to carry out. This is helping to protect the economy and reduce the impact that a lack of jobs has on damaging it.
Medium and highly skilled employees also require constant training to keep up with changes even at higher levels. In much the same way that we have changed since the industrial revolution, we can protect the economy by using the changes to positively impact scalability and profitability to meet the demands that a growing and more demanding population expects.
There is still a real fear of a possible devaluation of labour by humans despite the potential economic benefits of AI and Robotics to overcome, which is dependent on organisations and individual managers to unlock the potential for the greater good of the economy. It isn’t easy to use robotics as creatives, yet this could be the key to freeing up time and people within organisations to unleash creative talent and unlock ideas to keep the robots even busier and benefit the economy.