The impending threat of job loss due to automation has returned to light predicted the World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. Speaking at a discussion on extreme poverty at the Brookings Institute yesterday, he noted that the rapid automation of business processes is bound to impact developing countries the most.
Highlighting the impact he shared that the developing countries like India and China, along with several countries in Africa would face a significant threat to jobs. He then urged governments to re-think their strategies for providing new jobs to the millions joining the workforce every year.
"Technology could fundamentally disrupt the pattern of traditional economic path in developing countries"
According to World Bank research, automation is bound to threaten around 69 percent of the jobs in India, while 77 per cent in China, added Jim Yong Kim. “As we continue to encourage more investment in infrastructure to promote growth, we also have to think about the kinds of infrastructure that countries will need in the economy of the future. We all know that technology has and will continue to fundamentally reshape the world.”
“But the traditional economic path from increasing productivity of agriculture to light manufacturing and then to full-scale industrialization may not be possible for all developing countries,” Mr. Kim said in response to a question during a discussion on extreme poverty on Tuesday. “In large parts of Africa, it is likely that technology could fundamentally disrupt this pattern. Research based on World Bank data has predicted that the proportion of jobs threatened in India by automation is 69 per cent, in China, it is 77 per cent and in Ethiopia, the percentage of jobs threatened by automation is 85 percent,” he said.
“Now, if this is true, and if these countries are going to lose these many jobs, we then have to understand what paths to economic growth will be available for these countries and then adapt our approach to infrastructure accordingly,” Mr. Kim said.
This poses serious challenges to our own internal skill building initiatives as the governments skilling initiatives like Skill India need to cognizant of the incoming impact of automation so enable India workforce can be productive and find employment. It would need a proactive approach in identifying key skill sets which would in demand in the coming years and look at building them within the nation's workforce to truly help them be productive in an ever-evolving business world.