Opinion: Competition for jobs will come as much from automation as overseas workers
As the country prepares for Brexit people are naturally worried about jobs and how the future of their families and friends will be affected.
Manufacturing was cited by some of the leave campaigners as something which Britain could regain from countries such as China & the Far East, but unfortunately it’s isn’t that simple.
China still has a cost advantage when it comes to wages but the gap is closing and as the country starts to consider workers benefits more fully the gap will close still further.
As an example American wages have historically been 22 times that of emerging markets. A similar story exists using the UK as a template. According to some reports the average manufacturing wage in China during 2004 was $0.73p. American workers in the same period demanded over $16.00. The gap is now much closer.
The iPhone, iPad or tablet you use is the price it is for one reason.
All of this is very interesting but the real and growing danger to jobs is automation rather than competition from China & elsewhere.
We are about to enter the era of advanced robotics! Competition for jobs will come as much from automation as it will from lower wage levels offered overseas.
It will be as cheap to make widgets in Bristol or Gloucester as it will be in Beijing or Shanghai! Especially if you take the six thousand mile journey and its serious impact on global carbon footprint.
Manufacturers will be able to set up in Weston-super-Mare or Frome and supply UK based markets much quicker than overseas firms will.
All this is good, and bad, news. Yes, the manufacturing process will be UK based but it will be carried out by far less human workers. Machines will be capable of most manufacturing processes with only highly skilled technicians needed to monitor the
So what does this mean to the job market? Well in my opinion it is about to go through a huge restructuring process. It’s inevitable if you think about it. What bulldozers and mechanical diggers did in the previous job restructuring era of the 50s and 60s, robots will do for this one.
People, particularly young people with a lifetime of living to pay for need to urgently prepare by finding out what courses are relevant at the region’s brilliant colleges and universities. Millions of Britain’s are just not prepared with the necessary skills that will be needed by the kind of advanced technological economy that is fast approaching.
The new British Prime Minister needs to grasp this nettle & prepare Britain properly so that we can continue to lead the way in the digital revolution which is upon us.
Driverless cars, artificial intelligence, robotics, energy and food production all offer great opportunities for workers and investors alike.
The world will be a very different place in 2030 than it is today as computers continue to enable ordinary people to instantly calculate complicated mathematical equations as fast as any professor of quantum physics.