By Charles Delancray, Director Technology, Deloitte Luxembourg, & Miranta Evangelia Boura, Policy Analyst , Deloitte Luxembourg.

Digitalization is transforming all parts of society and economy and as a result the world of work. This transformation, which is often referred to as the fourth industrial revolution, affects the labor market, by changing work dynamics, working conditions, and the skills needed for the job market. The recent wave of technological developments has created a controversial debate on the impact that these advancements will have on the labor market. Some believe that digitalization will destroy jobs, while others consider that it will create new ones.

Big data, artificial intelligence, internet-of-things, cloud computing, robotics, and online platforms are some of the technologies that change the nature and the skill profile of jobs. They are also creating new ways of working and are often altering the way we think about how people and machines can work together. Among these technologies, there has been a growing interest in robotics, as this technology will become dominant in the coming years and it will affect every element of work.

A robot can be classified as an industrial, a service, or a software robot. Industrial robots account for the largest part of the robotics market. These robots are used in manufacturing or assembly applications in the field of automotive, electronic or in other industrial sectors [1]. Although industrial robots boost the productivity and competitiveness of companies, they can reduce the employment of low and middle-skilled workers.  

Service robots include both professional robots such as medical robots, defense robots, logistic systems as well as domestic robots such as floor cleaning robots and robots for entertainment [2]. As service robots are developed for services currently carried out by humans, they could undertake at least part of the tasks [3].

Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which refers to a software solution used to perform repetitive business processes by imitating the way people interact with software applications, is revolutionizing numerous of the business functions. RPA can automate repetitive tasks such as system monitoring, basic technical support, the provision of software, and workload scheduling.

The rapid advances in technology trigger a new generation of robots that are smarter and more developed than before. Some of these robots can execute diverse tasks and work together with humans; some can fly and others are able to navigate. With robots becoming more efficient in carrying out tasks faster and better, their significance within the labor market is growing.

As the number of robots increase, the skills needed for the job market change. For employees to cope with the changes in the labor market, they would need to obtain the necessary skills to make sure that technology is complementing rather than substituting their skills.

The rise of robots in the workplace seems almost inevitable, given that companies who do not make use of this technology or any other form of automation will miss mulitiple opportunities for growth. As companies embark on this transformation, there will be a redesigning of almost every form of work. It is therefore critical to focus on helping employees to gain the skills and knowledge needed for this new technology.

 

[1] Murphy, A. (2017), “Industrial: Robotics outlook 2025”. Accessed on March 2018, available at: http://loupventures.com/industrial-robotics-outlook-2025/

[2] International Federation of Robotics (2017), “Why service robots are booming worldwide”. Accessed on March 2018, available at: https://ifr.org/ifr-press-releases/news/why-service-robots-are-booming-worldwide

[3] Decker, M., Fischer, M. and Ott, I. (2017), “Service Robotics and Human Labor: A first technology assessment of substitution and cooperation”. Accessed on March 2018, available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921889016306285


Publié le 13 juillet 2018