We won’t be short of work
In the future, work will fundamentally change for many people due to the digital industrial revolution. Traditional employment relationships will become rarer, like proven working hours models and hierarchies.
Despite this transformation, we should not give in to feelings of insecurity. Each new era of innovative technology has brought forth new professions and jobs. For example, in 1974, ABB launched the world’s first industrial robot for welding work in the automotive industry, as this was the only way for German manufacturers to keep pace with the Japanese. In fact, that’s why hardly any welding work is done manually today, yet more people are working in the German automobile industry than ever before.
Robots have secured competitive capabilities for entire industries, facilitated growth and prosperity and created new jobs. The fact is that precisely those countries where most robots work have the lowest unemployment rates.
In the future, more and more connected robots will perform the tasks that are physically strenuous, dangerous or especially monotonous. People, on the other hand, will focus on value creation, on innovations or on quality management. That’s a division of labor that benefits everyone. For example, ABB’s YuMi is such an assistant. ABB designed the world’s first collaborative robot so that he can work hand-in-hand with humans. Thus, YuMi lightens their workload, improves the products and shortens production times. And in the end, this increase in productivity will make people’s jobs more secure and more valuable.
The world of work may fundamentally change due to digitalization – but we will never be short of work. The new working world will require still more knowledge and above all, more creativity, greater flexibility and conviction for change. The educational policy of the future must be designed with these qualities in mind. This transformation will require us to accept having two or three phases in our careers over the course of our working lives instead of one long continuous phase. We should accept this with open minds. And we should do it willingly.