COVID-19, Automation and Job Losses
Automation has been there since several decades in this country. Now due to this ongoing pandemic, “automation” is taking place faster than in pre-covid days. As we know, due to the Corona crisis, many people lost their jobs across the globe. Also, add-on automation further cut many jobs and caused massive job losses. Additionally, it has been observed that increasing usage of robots in the automotive sector, especially in assembly lines leads to a reduction in the workforce in automotive plants. Moreover, restaurants are increasingly spending money to adopt robots as new servants by replacing humans as servants to reduce the labour count. Even some schools are thinking of having a robot as a schoolteacher to teach science and mathematics subjects, as well as to handle tutorial classes for the students.
Similarly, the service industry like financial brokerage, financial research, financial markets, insurance companies are also investing in robot financial advisors etc. Moreover, automation using robots, chatbots are delivering 24x7 quality and timely services to their customers. Bloomberg has a chatbot which works 24x7 in solving customer grievances. Many other companies are investing in chatbots to deliver customer solutions. This made the other companies think about investing in automation.
Growing Automation in the initial phase may be a significant threat to human capital, but in the long run, it will create new job opportunities. If we remember, during the time when computers were introduced in the country there were strikes, rallies against computers and technology. Now we see that computers are everywhere. Similarly, when cellphones /smartphones were introduced, again the same kind of threat to some organizations, but now mobile phones are at every nook and corner of the country.
Now many companies are thinking about reducing human intervention in daily business needs to protect from Corona and other pandemics. At the same time, automation-based business models might create an immense growth in the business.
Automation is a serious threat to working-class at the same time; it is an opportunity to upskill one’s talent to face competition from machines as it creates more job opportunities across the world. Further, Artificial Intelligence, Block-chain are going to push this automation rapidly in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that this is an era to develop and prepare human resources in order to work in the AI and Automation World.
Companies are in the belief that automation brings cost efficiencies with an increase in top lines. Subsequently, corporate leadership believes that automation can provide supply chain security as well. It is suitable for everyone protects from Corona “SMS,” i.e. Social distance, Mask and Sanitization.
In the case of robots in business, the risk of carrying a virus by robots is minimal. The usage of robots in sectors like Health, Banking and Financial Services are increasing day by day. Cash-rich hospitals are investing in automation and in robotic technology to use robots as a single point of contact. Similarly, top-notch private banks started using a humanoid robot as a receptionist in a bank branch. Also, a Bangalore-based international school developed humanoid robotic teachers to teach complex subjects like physics, chemistry, biology, and geography.
As per the World Economic Forum report, the top 10 in the list of jobs in 2025 are largely tech-driven such as Data Science, AI, Block Chain, Fintech, Automation and IoT. Thus, there is a growing demand for tech and automation professionals in the years to come. The demand for management-related jobs is going to fall especially for managers who work in the intermediary roles irrespective of the management function. Automation is going to take out most of the intermediary jobs. Hence human capital must acquire the latest technologies and update skill sets to compete with robots as well as changing technologies.