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Recently, report published by the 'World Economic Forum' stated that world is set to lose five million jobs in the next five years. The report states that the job losses will be primarily on account of automation, redundancy and disintermediation. If the report is to be believed, maximum impact of the same will be felt by the people working in the white collar and administrative jobs. White-collar are jobs wherein, human intervention is not to a great extent.
Increasingly we witness the use of robotics in the product line. Use of robotic equipment helps to maintain uniform quality of all manufactured products. Further, robotics also helps in saving time to manufacture a product as it works with uniform efficiency. However, same cannot be true when a human being works on the same. Fatigue plays a larger part when human beings work on a product, which significantly causes delays in the manufacturing process. However, one may argue that the impact of robots may be limited to just a few sectors. So far, robots are largely employed in metal-forming industries like automobiles.
But well, you would be wrong to underestimate the possibility of robots penetrating traditionally labour-intensive sectors. As Mr Gokarn points out, the capabilities of robots are expanding at a very fast clip. In the coming times, they could replace humans from the assembly lines of sectors such as shirting and footwear, among others.
Interestingly, industrial robotics is one of the few sectors that have been growing at a fast clip despite the weakness in the global economy. It is estimated that about 230,000 robots were sold in 2014, 27% higher than in the previous year. In fact, robot sales have more than doubled in the last decade.
Further, report states that the firm will adopt new strategies to deal with the change in the labour market. Almost majority of the Indian employers stated that they would focus on re-skilling existing staff and support job rotation. However, trained professionals are required to be hired in order to re-skill the existing employees. Further, a good amount of time needs to be invested in order to re-skill them. Will the employer be interested in using their money & time remains an unanswered question.
As our in-house analyst Ankit Shah wrote in one of the articles that it will be difficult to unlock the so-called demographic dividend, if companies are keener about automation than employing the huge labour force at hand.
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