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How will your country deal with automation?

According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the effects of automation and its impact on jobs are likely to be similar or different based on not just industries but also on different geographies. Global corporations and supply chains will have a significant role to play in this regard.

automation and jobs by region
(Image Courtesy: Juliana Kozoski/Unsplash)

The decisions on where to base the jobs or move them are mainly influenced by the availability of skilled local labor and labor costs. Factors such as labor laws and raw material availability tend to play a minor role in such decisions. Labor costs are more of a concern in developing economies versus developed ones, but the availability of talent is said to be a major factor across all regions.

The report states that across all countries, the importance given to these two factors tends to vary based on different industries. In sectors like consumer, energy utilities and mining, priority is given to labor costs. At the same time, industries like healthcare, automotive, aerospace and information, and communications technologies tend to provide importance to skilled talent.

By 2022 the number of companies that look for talent abroad is expected to shrink considerably

Another point the report makes is that with the ongoing investment in automation and labor augmentation in developed countries and the resulting shifts in labor costs, several tasks may end up being re-shored over the next five years. This will affect developing economies in particular. In fact, by 2022 the number of companies that look for talent abroad is expected to shrink considerably.

Despite these changes, there is hope on the horizon. New technologies are expected to lead to new jobs, roles, and tasks and looking at the structure of employment across developing economies; there appears to be enough leeway for job growth in several sectors. There are also opportunities for emerging economies to attain growth through a rise in domestic demand for goods and services.

For the future and security of jobs, across industries and countries, reskilling and upskilling are of utmost importance. The report points out that significant reskilling is needed across all countries. With regards to this factor, over the period from 2018 to 2022, specific job roles like data analysts, software developers and specialists in human resources and marketing, are likely to see high demand across all regions.

The demand for some job roles is likely to vary based on geography. There will be a rise in need for financial advisers in East Asia, information security analysts in Eastern Europe and factory and assembly workers in Latin America, Middle East, and South Asia. Governments and corporations will have to work together to achieve the right results in the adoption of technologies and the security of jobs.

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