paint-brush
Automation Isn’t Really a Bad Thing for Employeesby@devinpartida
540 reads
540 reads

Automation Isn’t Really a Bad Thing for Employees

by Devin PartidaFebruary 17th, 2023
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Automation is expected to grow at a rapid pace within the next few years. Workers can benefit from easier workloads, improving productivity and job satisfaction. Automated technologies can perform dangerous jobs for employers, eliminating the need for human employees to put themselves or their coworkers at risk.

People Mentioned

Mention Thumbnail
featured image - Automation Isn’t Really a Bad Thing for Employees
Devin Partida HackerNoon profile picture

If you’ve paid attention to the modern tech scene, you know that automation is coming. More and more automation technologies, including robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), are becoming a normal part of life.

As automation plays a significant role across various industries, some workers are expressing concern over job security. Historically, American workers have suffered from worker displacement due to technological advances. Take your basic grocery store, for example. Self-checkout counters are the new norm, which was not always the case.

Learn more about automation, its role in today’s workforce and whether it will have positive or negative implications for American workers.

The Role of Automation Across Industries

Automation is expected to grow at a rapid pace within the next few years. According to Precedence Research, the automation market will hit $412.8 billion by 2030. 

Industrial automation offers plenty of benefits for companies. Aside from the immediate benefits like higher efficiency, automation also facilitates long-term benefits like accountability, profitability, consistency and flexibility. 

Some of the top automation companies in the market are:

  • Rockwell Automation
  • ABB
  • Honeywell
  • Siemens
  • Mitsubishi Electric 

These companies are sparking growth in the automation sector because they sell highly sought-after products and services for businesses in virtually every industry. The role of automation in the ever-changing business landscape will continue to grow and become more significant as automation technologies advance.

How Automation Can Benefit Workers

Change is inevitable. A common change many companies are undertaking is their digital transformations, including implementing automated solutions. However, workers in this day and age should focus their efforts on the benefits of automation and how it can transform their work lives.

Below, explore some ways automation can benefit workers.

1. Increases Productivity

First, automated tech can take over many mundane, repetitive tasks that workers typically do not enjoy doing in their roles. For example, RPA solutions are widely used in the manufacturing and warehousing industries, as they can complete repetitive tasks such as assembling products on an assembly line or packaging items for shipments. 

Automation technologies work best when they complement the work of human employees. Workers can benefit from easier workloads, improving productivity and job satisfaction.

2. Better, Safer Job Opportunities

During and after the COVID-19 pandemic, The Great Resignation proved that many Americans were unhappy with their jobs because millions of people quit, moved to another industry, or stopped working altogether. With automation, new jobs will emerge, giving workers better opportunities to find jobs that suit their wants and needs.

Additionally, many jobs will become inherently safer. Automated technologies can perform dangerous jobs for employers, eliminating the need for human employees to put themselves or their coworkers at risk of injury or fatality. 

3. Reduces Employee Pain Points

Another way workers benefit from automation is that these technologies often reduce pain points or friction while human employees are on the job. Take Chipotle as an example. The fast-casual dining company recently announced that it would implement an automated kitchen assistant called Chippy in some restaurants.

The assistant is responsible for making tortilla chips, a job previously performed by employees. Now, employees can focus on other tasks in the restaurant, such as taking care of customers’ orders, cleaning, being a cashier, or cooking different types of food. 

Will Automation Lead to Worker Displacement?

If you think about some of the most famous science fiction movies, like iRobot and Ex Machina, they often portray robots as self-aware beings capable of moving, thinking, and acting like humans or, worse — destroying the human race.

One concern workers in the U.S. and around the world are starting to express in terms of automation is worker displacement. It’s commonly understood that robotics and automated machines can take over many of the core responsibilities workers must perform on the job. Suppose robotics and automated machines can complete tasks and work 24/7. What’s to say they won’t eliminate the need for companies to hire human employees?

Ultimately, AI, automation and robotics solutions will still need humans to work properly. This may require employees to reskill or upskill to remain marketable to employers. In other words, employees of the future might need to learn the ins and outs of computer science, data science, AI and other automation technologies if they want to pursue a career in these fields.

Automated technologies are expected to create new jobs across various industries, which can help offset potential cases of worker displacement. According to a report from the World Economic Forum, automation could cause the removal of 85 million jobs but also add 97 million jobs, which has long-term benefits for the American workforce and economy.

Preparing for a Future Built Upon Automation

While some degree of worker displacement may happen due to the rise of automation, it’s unlikely that all humans will lose their jobs. Experts suggest that automation works best when it’s working alongside humans instead of them. It’ll be interesting to see how the automation market continues on its path of growth, if more automation will require the reskilling or upskilling of workers, and in what ways the American workforce will benefit from automation.