80,000 electronics jobs for humans, courtesy... the robots

Contrary to popular belief that robots will eventually take away many jobs from humans and leave them unemployed, a new study reveals that these man-made machines are creating employment for the existing workforce.

According to a report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), from 2008 to 2011, robotics created up to 80,000 jobs in the electronics sector.

This, the IFR maintains, dispels the myth that automation negatively impacts jobs.

Robots are credited for sustaining job growth in the flourishing electronics industry despite the Great Recession, says the organisation.

The IFR report is based on an updated 2013 study by research firm Metra Martech. The study concluded that for every robot deployed, 3.6 jobs are created. By 2016, robotics is expected to account for an additional 110,000 electronics jobs across the globe.

In an earlier interview with Emirates 24|7, Dr. Claus Risager, Partner & Director at Blue Ocean Robotics, said that robots will not replace human professionals. Instead, they will compliment human labour and add to the number of jobs available in a sector.

“Several independent surveys show that robots are job creators,” affirmed Dr. Risager. “When robots are introduced, it transforms more jobs from the hand to the mind and it increases productivity, quality and profitability. This transformation leads to increased pace on innovation, creativity and development and results in high-value jobs that lead to increased wealth,” he said.

“The only critical factor is that the transformation is unevenly distributed among the workforce. Introducing robots increase the number of jobs for personnel with high-level skills and reduce the number for low-level skills but overall the number of jobs increases,” he added.

This can be particularly witnessed in the electronics sector. The report by IFR stresses that robotics is critical to the production process when the product cannot be made to satisfactory precision, consistency, or cost without flexible automation.

This demand for uniform high quality at affordable cost accounts for the highest employment increase in the electronics sector through 2011. It is expected to continue to grow in importance as technology advances.

Job growth is attributed to electronics manufacturers and their suppliers gearing up to meet the increased demand. Manufacturers are expanding and adding more facilities, recruiting automation specialists and technicians, and hiring support personnel. The local economies and infrastructure benefit from the ripple effect of this manufacturing investment, the report notes.

Around the world, at least 2.1 million jobs in this sector depend on robotics, the IFR data reveals.

(Home page image courtesy Shutterstock)

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