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Will Automation Result in More Job Losses in 2022 in the U.S.?

By December 13, 2021 News

From delivering food to customer service, packaging to manufacturing, automation is used across industries to improve efficiency and productivity. One of the greatest fears surrounding automation is whether it will replace humans entirely, leading to job losses.

If you are wondering if you will lose your job in 2022 because of automation, here are some reassuring facts.

Automation Will Change Jobs Instead of Destroying them

According to a prediction in 2021 by McKinsey Global Institute, 45 million Americans could lose their jobs by 2030 to automation. The pandemic has added another incentive for businesses to automate certain aspects of work simply because the machines neither fall ill nor need to distance themselves or take time off for recovery.

But, not everyone agrees. According to the World Economic Forum, for instance, far from resulting in job losses, automation will create 58 million more jobs. While some jobs impacted by automation will transform into higher-skilled jobs, some will become lower-skilled.

McKinsey also estimates that out of the 45 million people who might lose their jobs due to automation, 32 million will remain in the same occupation. Only 9 per cent of those displaced will have to find a new career path.

Instead of destroying jobs, automation will merely create new jobs. Machines will take over repetitive and boring tasks, allowing people to take care of strategic tasks.

Automation is Expensive

Automation is typically used interchangeably with ‘robots’, but there is a huge difference between the two technologies. For instance, elevators that were operated by humans were not replaced by robots. Instead, they were replaced by buttons that riders could press themselves.

Additionally, most tasks, including the simplest ones, can be difficult and expensive to automate. The cost of automation is increasing thanks to the high costs of:

  • labour (salaries of software engineers and developers)
  • materials
  • rollout, implementation, and maintenance costs
  • cybersecurity
  • infrastructure
  • training

What this means is that not every business will be able to realize a great return on their automation investment.

Automation Will Create New Jobs

Historical data shows that 33 per cent of new jobs are in occupations that barely existed or did not exist 25 years ago in the U.S. These include app creation, I.T. development, systems management, and hardware manufacturing. Technology innovation has not necessarily impacted jobs and productivity negatively. In fact, the impact of new technologies such as automation on job creation is expected to be strongly positive.

A 2011 study showed that while 500,000 jobs were destroyed in France due to the internet, 1.2 million new jobs were created. This means 2.4 new jobs were added for every job lost, amounting to 700,000 new jobs.

You can Learn New Skills Quickly

While automation is here to stay, there will always be core tasks that machines cannot do. Employers will increasingly look for candidates with skills such as analysis, critical thinking, creative problem-solving, resilience, flexibility, and emotional intelligence.

You can be ready for the technology disruption by upskilling yourself and acquiring new digital skills such as information technology, robotics, data analysis, as well as soft skills such as critical thinking and resilience.

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